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3 FTSE Shares For The Week Ahead: Associated British Foods plc, Whitbread plc and Kingfisher plc

Although it should be a relatively quiet month, September will be bringing us a number of important FTSE 100 updates, mainly towards the second half of the month. But we do have some key news coming our way next week, with various trading updates mixed in with some first-half results, and even a handful of finals.

Here are three FTSE 100 companies with notable updates due next week:

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Associated British Foods, Monday 9 September

We should have an update from Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) on Monday, ahead of the firm’s year-end on 14 September. And a decent year it is expected to be, with the latest forecasts predicting an 11% rise in earnings per share (EPS) and a slightly smaller rise penciled in for the following year.

A third-quarter update in July told us that revenue for the group was 9% up on the year to date, with the firm’s Primark clothing chain leading the way with a 22% sales rise. That was pretty much in line with an earlier half-time report, showing a 10% rise in revenue with adjusted pre-tax profit up 25% to £452m and adjusted EPS up 22% to 41.9p. The interim dividend was lifted 10% to 9.35p.

The Associated share price has gained around 40% over the past 12 months to 1,825p, and that perhaps suggests a toppy valuation — it has brought the forward dividend yield down to around 1.7%, and has lifted the firm’s forward P/E to over 19, which is above the FTSE’s long-term average of around 14. Such a high valuation depends on continued outperformance from Primark.

Whitbread, Tuesday 10 September

Whitbread (LSE: WTB), the owner of the Premier Inn and Costa Coffee brands, is due to bring us a first-half trading statement on Tuesday.

Again, we’re looking at a strong share price rise, of 50% to 3,154p over the past year, taking the shares to a forward P/E valuation of 17. But we do have a forecast rise in EPS of 30% for the year to February 2014, with a dividend yield of around 2.2% predicted.

At the first-quarter stage, total sales for the group were up 14% on the same period a year previously, with like-for-like sales up 3.1%. Costa led the way with a 24.8% rise in total sales and a like-for-like gain of 8%. Overall, we heard that things were going as expected.

Kingfisher, Wednesday 11 September

Wednesday is first-half results day for Kingfisher (LSE: KGF), the owner of the UK’s B&Q and Screwfix firms in addition to a number of European outlets.

There shouldn’t be any surprises, after the group’s pre-close update told us that total sales were up 1.4% over the half with most of that coming in the second quarter — Q2 brought a 5.2% rise in sales, with like-for-like up 2.5%.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said “Following a tough Q1, I am pleased to report that we have been able to capitalise on the better weather conditions in Q2, particularly in the UK, which has helped us to deliver growth“. He did caution that consumer confidence is still weak, but expects the first half to be in line with guidance.

The full year is forecast to deliver a modest rise in EPS, with the shares on a P/E of 17 — the following year should drop that to under 15, as EPS growth forecasts pick up.

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

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