What Will Results From Legal & General Group Plc, Antofagasta plc And SOCO International plc Bring Next Week?

Are Legal & General Group Plc (LON: LGEN), Antofagasta plc (LON: ANTO) and SOCO International plc (LON: SIA) set to please the punters?

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Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) is due to present full-year results on Tuesday 15 March, and they’ll come at an upbeat time for the insurance sector — Aviva‘s results on Thursday provided a 5% boost to its shares, so will Legal & General shareholders enjoy something similar?

The share price is down 17% over the past 12 months. But since 11 February we’ve seen an 18% recovery to 235p, boosted no doubt by growing confidence in the 14% earnings per share (EPS) growth and the 5.7% dividend yield expected for the year ended December 2015. The dividend would be covered around 1.4 times by earnings, which seems good enough after a first half update told us of “confidence in the strength and growth prospects for the business” with the company upping its interim dividend by 19%.

At Q3 time, cash inflows were up, assets under management were up, net cash was up, and chief executive Nigel Wilson spoke of “a high degree of resilience in our business model” and reiterated the judgement that Legal & General is “well positioned for further growth“. I predict a lot of happy investors on Tuesday.

Commodity turnaround?

Results from Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO), also due on 15 March, won’t be so pretty, with the City expecting the last two years of double-digit EPS falls to be trounced by a further 84% drop — and there should only be a tiny dividend yielding around 0.5%. But there are strong recoveries on the cards for 2016 and 2017, although current forecasts would still see Antofagasta on a P/E of 29 as far out as December 2018 — so there’s quite a bit of longer-term recovery already built into the share price.

That share price has already started to pick up quite nicely. Between last year’s high point in late April and 20 January this year, we saw a 57% crash. But since then we’ve seen a 47% recovery to 510p, as commodities prices have started to firm up and the sector has enjoyed a minor rerating.

Hopefully next week’s results will mark a nadir year for Antofagasta with things set to get better, but other than that the 2015 figures will probably be best forgotten in the long run.

A great oil punt?

The oil exploration business is another that’s started to pick up a little as the price of the black stuff has risen from its sub-$30 low and looks like it might even remain above $40 per barrel now. Soco International (LSE: SIA) is one that has benefitted, and after a hefty fall its shares have picked up 40% since 20 January, to 170p. But what will Soco’s results, due on Thursday 17 March tell us?

Unlike a lot of explorers, Soco isn’t hamstrung by debt. In fact, the company’s year-end trading update in January told us it had none at all and was, in fact, sitting on net cash of $104m. Soco has some of the lowest operating costs in the business too, of just $10 per barrel. Chief executive Ed Story reckoned Soco is “in a good position to weather a prolonged industry downturn“. He told us it “will be frugal, spending only on commitments and work that is directly related to production whilst keeping an eye out for opportunities“.

If the price of oil really has started its long-awaited recovery, the next couple of years could turn out very nicely for Soco shareholders.

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.

Alan Oscroft owns shares in Aviva. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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