Week Ahead

BP’s new chief to outline post-Looney progress

BP
BP will deliver half-year figures

BP’s new chief executive Murray Auchincloss is expected to update the energy company’s strategy as it refines its green targets and sets its course for growth following the departure of previous incumbent Bernard Looney.

Mr Auchincloss, who has worked at BP for more than 25 years, most recently as its chief financial officer, is not expected to make sweeping changes as he was a key architect of BP’s current strategy.

But there are important issues that the Canadian will need to address in the initial year or two ahead following predecessor Bernard Looney’s abrupt departure last autumn.

BP’s shares have persistently lagged its industry rivals, and more so since Mr Looney’s pivot to green energy.

In contrast to the activist campaigns faced by Shell and ExxonMobil, which said they were moving too slowly toward renewables, Bluebell Capital has asserted that BP has tried to make the shift too quickly, given the globe’s ongoing reliance upon oil and gas, say analysts at AJ Bell.

BP has refined its goals to target a 25% reduction in oil and gas output by 2030, after Mr Looney’s initial plan was a 40% cut.

Mr Auchincloss will now have to unlock value from viable oil and gas plays while at the same time invest pragmatically in green energy and cleantech plays – a delicate balancing act that his predecessor was not seen to have managed too well.

Analysts expect that underlying replacement cost profit, the company’s preferred measure, will be $2.77 billion (£2.19 billion).

Barratt Developments reports interims on Wednesday as house prices have largely held up and tentative signs of a recovery in demand.

Falling inflation and a likely cut in interest rates, possibly starting in June, has encouraged cuts in mortgage payments and can only help the housing sector.

AJ Bell reminds us that news flow from the building sector has been mixed, as solid updates from Vistry and Persimmon have contrasted with disappointing ones from MJ Gleeson and Crest Nicholson, but shares in all eight FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 builders remain up from their 2023 lows.

Barratt Developments’ shares trade higher than a year ago and they are up by a third from their autumn nadir.

DIARY

Monday 5 February

  • Quarterly results from Vodafone
  • Purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) for service industries in Asia, Europe, the UK and US

Tuesday 6 February

  • Full-year results from SThree and Wynnstay
  • First-half results from Renishaw, Mattioli Woods
  • Trading update from Virgin Money UK
  • BRC UK retail sales
  • UK construction industry purchasing managers’ index (PMI)

Wednesday 7 February

  • Full-year results from Smurfit Kappa
  • First-half results from Barratt Developments, PZ Cussons
  • Halifax UK house price index
  • German industrial production
  • In the US, quarterly results from Walt Disney, Uber, ARM, PayPal, Yum! Brands, Roblox, Fox, News Corporation, Coty, New York Times and Mattel

Thursday 8 February

  • Full-year results from AstraZeneca, British American Tobacco and EasyJet
  • First-half results from Redrow
  • Trading updates from SSE, Compass, Anglo American, Watches of Switzerland and S & U
  • Chinese inflation
  • US weekly initial unemployment claims

Friday 9 February

  • Trading updates from Bellway and Victrex


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