Positive update expected from Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer is expected to report higher earnings for the six months to September when it updates shareholders on Wednesday.
It could see pre-tax profits hit around £270 million, from £206m this time last year, according to analysts for Numis Research.
M&S makes most of its money during the second half of the year, which includes the crucial Christmas sales period.
In August it said its its half-year earnings are likely to be better than it had previously projected after increasing market share in both its clothing and home, and food businesses over the summer.
M&S shares have more than doubled in just 12 months, and helped it return to the FTSE 100 in September, four years after it was relegated to the second tier amid falling sales and intense competition.
On Tuesday, full-year figures for rival chain Primark will be released with results from its parent company Associated British Foods.
Analysts at investment platform AJ Bell say the low base of expectations has helped retail stocks which have done well in 2023, spurred by a retreat in oil and gas prices (at least until recently), energy price subsidies, strong wage growth and low unemployment.
AstraZeneca’s shares have more than trebled since Pascal Soriot became CEO in October 2012 and the pharmaceutical giant is the second-largest company by market capitalisation in the FTSE 100 behind Shell.
A spell in spring as the largest firm has ended, thanks in part to firmer oil prices (in the wake of fresh conflict in the Middle East), a mixed drug trial result and the burden of expectation created by AstraZeneca’s lofty market cap. Q3 figures are due on Thursday.
This week’s events
State opening of Parliament: On Tuesday King Charles will mark the start of the 2023-24 parliamentary session by delivering the UK government’s legislative programme for the first time as monarch. Full story here
Distillers conference: Among other topics, the inaugural Scottish Distillers Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday will debate a lack of regulation in the cask whisky market and air concerns about unscrupulous traders exploiting loopholes. Full story here
Seminar: Stevie Kidd, the Glasgow-based business strategist and performance coach, is delivering a free seminar on self-leadership techniques on Thursday, 16 November. Son and business partner Ryan Kidd will help deliver the masterclass, which will see delegates from around the country immersed in the understanding of the self, the brain, emotions, neurology and mindsets.
Finance and Economics Diary
Monday 6 November
- UK purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the construction industry
- In Europe, quarterly results from Ryanair
Tuesday 7 November
- Trading statements or quarterly results from Beazley, Persimmon, Direct Line, Watches of Switzerland and IWG
- Halifax UK house price index
Wednesday 8 November
- Full-year results from Smiths News
- First-half results from Marks & Spencer
- Trading statements or quarterly results from ITV, Hiscox, JD Wetherspoon and Secure Trust Bank
Thursday 9 November
- Full-year results from WH Smith
- First-half results from National Grid, 3i, B&M European Value Retail, Auto Trader, Wizz Air and Wincanton
- Trading statements or quarterly results from AstraZeneca, Flutter Entertainment, Taylor Wimpey, Endeavour Mining, IMI, Lancashire, John Wood, Indivior and Domino’s Pizza
Friday 10 November
- First-half results from Renewi and Young & Co Brewery
- UK GDP growth
- UK construction, industrial and manufacturing output