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3 FTSE Shares For The Week Ahead: Barratt Developments Plc, Associated British Foods plc And Experian plc

Company news is starting to flow again after the summer dry spell, with a lot of results from our biggest companies expected nearer the end of the month. For next week, we don’t have any actual results, but we should be getting updates from a few important firms. We take a look at what’s in store from two FTSE 100 firms, and from one that’s just outside the top flight:

Barratt, Wednesday

Housebuilder Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) is due to bring us a trading update on Wednesday, at a time when the UK’s housebuilders are doing well — Barratt itself has seen its shares more than double over the past 12 months to 335p.

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So, what should we be expecting? Well, in May the firm told us that year-to-date private reservations were up 9.7% on a year ago, and that had been boosted to an 18% rise since the Government’s Help to Buy scheme was announced. Barratt told us it expects to approve the purchase of 17,000 plots over the full year, up 40%, and that net debt at year-end should be down from £168m to £100m.

Forecasts suggest a rise in earnings per share of about 75%, giving us a P/E multiple of 24, but if expectations for 2014 turn out to be accurate, that should drop to about 15. Full-year results are expected on 11 September.

Associated British Foods, Thursday

We’re due a third-quarter interim statement from Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) on Thursday. After years of earnings and dividend rises, we have another double-digit rise in earnings per share (EPS) forecast for the year to September.

And if first-half results, released in April, are anything to go by, that could be in the bag. With revenue up 10%, adjusted pre-tax profit rose by 25% to £452m and adjusted EPS was up 22% to 41.9p — and the dividend was lifted by 10% to 9.35p per share.

Despite a fall from a May high of 2,044p, a recent rebound has left the firm’s shares up around 45% over the past 12 months, to 1,850p, putting them on a forward P/E of about 19.

Experian, Friday

On Friday, it will be time for a first-quarter interim statement from credit-rating and business-information agency Experian (LSE: EXPN). The year ended 31 March was pretty good, with underlying pre-tax profit up 6% to $1.2bn after revenue grew 10% to $4.7bn at constant exchange rates. That led to the firm adding a 24 cents dividend to make a total for the year of 34.76 cents, which is 9% more than the previous year.

The City is forecasting a further rise in EPS for March 2014, of around 9%, which would put the shares on a P/E of 19. That might look a bit high, but Experian is something of a “picks and shovels” company that should do well from a longer-term economic recovery.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.

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