3 More FTSE Shares For The Week Ahead: Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc, NEXT plc and Barratt Developments PLC

There’s news from Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON: MRW), NEXT plc (LON: NXT) and Barratt Developments PLC (LON: BDEV).

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We’ve taken a quick look at a few companies scheduled to bring us important updates next week, and there are a few more to come during what is a reasonably busy month on the newswires. It’s not all FTSE 100 companies, mind, with the month’s schedule largely dominated by smaller firms.

Here are two FTSE 100 companies, and one from the FTSE 250, set to deliver news next week:

Morrisons, Thursday 12 September

The battle of the supermarkets continues, with first-half results from Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) (NASDAQOTH: MRWSY.US) due on Thursday, and shareholders have not been having a great time of it lately — the share price has gone precisely nowhere over the past 12 months and is stuck at 295p.

At the first-quarter stage, we were told of a “solid start” to the year, though total sales excluding fuel were only up 0.6% with like-for-like sales down 1.8%. It was, however, in line with expectations, and there’s a 5% fall in earnings per share (EPS) forecast for the full year.

The big move in recent months has been the tie-up with Ocado to finally set up an online shopping offering, and that agreement was completed in July with the approval of Ocado’s shareholders. The first deliveries should be rolling out of the warehouse in January, so we’ll want to hear news of that.

NEXT, Thursday 12 September

It’s first-half results day the same day for high street fashion retailer NEXT (LSE: NXT), and July’s update suggested things are going to be pretty reasonable. Total NEXT brand sales were up 2.3%, which was around the mid-point of the expected range. We were, however, warned of sales volatility and increasingly erratic spending patterns.

NEXT lifted its guidance for the full year, suggesting a pre-tax profit of £635-675m, which us up from earlier guidance of £615-665m. Underlying EPS is expected to grow by 8-15%, with the current analysts’ consensus suggesting 12%.

NEXT shares have gained a very nice 40% over the past 12 months, to 5,040p, but even after that they’re only on a forward P/E of around 16, which is not high for a company with good growth forecasts. But the dividend is a little on the low side, expected to yield about 2.5%.

Barratt Developments, Wednesday 11 September

We come to our FTSE 250 firm, housebuilder Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV), which will be delivering full-year results on Wednesday. The firm issued a statement in July ahead of the results, revealing a 17.9% rise in sales in the second half, with the rate up 34.7% since the government’s Help to Buy scheme was launched in April.

Barratt enjoyed a 9% gain in its average selling price, with pre-exceptional, pre-tax, profit expected to be around £192m, which was above the range of forecasts at the time.

The shares have fallen back a bit of late, as the whole housebuilding sector has retreated from its highs of July and early August. Barratt shares reached 360p for a doubling over the previous 12 months, but have since slipped to 311p. But that’s still an 80% gain over the year, so shareholders have done pretty well.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Morrisons.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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