Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON: MRW), Smiths Group plc (LON: SMIN) and United Utilities Group PLC (LON: UU) have news for us.
We have already taken a quick look at three important FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) companies due to issue updates during early September, and we have quite a bit more to come during the rest of the month. With the index of top UK shares having put in a pretty poor performance during August -- it's 167 points down at 6,454 with just a few hours of the trading month to go as I write these words -- we really could do with some good news to give the index a boost.
Here are three more companies that will hopefully give the FTSE some support in the coming month -- be sure to make a note of them in your September diaries:
Morrisons, Thursday 12 September
It's time for first-half results from Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) (NASDAQOTH: MRWSY.US) on 12 September, and the UK's third-placed supermarket has been a bit of a disappointment for shareholders so far -- its share price has gained less than 5% over the past 12 months while the FTSE is up over 15%. Morrisons has recorded several years of earnings per share (EPS) growth, but there's a fall of 6% currently forecast for the year ending January 2014. The dividend has been pretty strong, though, and the predicted 8% rise to around 12.8p per share would deliver a 4.4% yield on today's share price of 289p.
The first quarter brought news of a 0.6% rise in total sales (excluding fuel), but like-for-like sales were down 1.8%. That looked a little disappointing to me, but it was an improvement on the previous quarter and the company was sufficiently pleased to describe it as "a solid start to the new financial year".
One of Morrisons' big weaknesses has been its failure to offer any online shopping so far, and on that score it is way behind both Tesco and J Sainsbury. But the firm does have an agreement in place with Ocado to get an online offering launched, so many will be hoping for news of good progress on that front.
Smiths Group, Wednesday 18 September
Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN) has rewarded shareholders reasonably well over the past year, with its share price up around 25% to 1,293p and soundly beating the FTSE. We should be getting full-year results on 18 September, and things should be stable rather than exciting.
At the nine-month stage, Smiths reported growth in underlying operating profit across all its divisions, and told us its outlook was unchanged from its half-time stance. Back then, the firm had said "Looking to the second half, we see tough trading conditions as a result of the US medical device tax, slower demand in some parts of John Crane, and the impact of further government budget cuts". A pre-close update ahead of the coming results reiterated that position, with trading still "broadly in line..."
Analysts are expecting a flat year for earnings, but predict a modest 4% rise in the dividend to yield about 3%.
United Utilities, Thursday 19 September
When it comes to water and sewage provider United Utilities Group (LSE: UU), what most investors are looking for is dividends -- and they've been getting them by the sackful. For the year to March 2013, the firm delivered a yield of 4.8%. And with a plan to lift its annual payment by at least 2% above RPI inflation, we should be looking at a yield of around 5.2% for the current year on a share price of 685p. That's ahead of other firms in the same sector.
The first half ends for United Utilities on 30 September, and on 19 September we should get a pre-close update ahead of that. There really shouldn't be any surprises, after July's interim told us that "trading is in line with the group's expectations" and that a regulated price increase has edged revenue higher.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco and has recommended shares in Morrisons.