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Banks, BAT and miners among the big hitters in the coming week, UK inflation and retail data eyed

The coming week will see a number of big names in the corporate diary, notably two of the UK’s major banks, Barclays and Natwest, as well as a quarter of major miners and cigarette maker BAT.

Meanwhile, the macro diary will feature UK inflation and retail data on Wednesday and Friday respectively.

Across the Atlantic, the US markets will see a shortened week, being closed on Monday for Presidents Day, however, earnings reports that may draw interest over the week include retail giant Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) on Thursday and tractor maker Deere & Co (NYSE:DE) on Friday.

Miners unearth updates

A handful of blue-chip miners will also be reporting updates or results across the work, kicking off with Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN) and BHP Group PLC (LON:BHP) on Tuesday, followed by Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) on Wednesday and Hochschild Mining PLC (LON:HOC) on Thursday.

For Glencore, which is reporting its final results, UBS analysts expect earnings (EBITDA) of around US$11bn for 2020 and a dividend of around US$0.10 per share.

They also predict the company’s new CEO, Gary Nagle, will be introduced to investors ahead of incumbent boss Ivan Glasenberg’s retirement later this year.

Meanwhile, UBS forecasts Rio Tinto will deliver US$12.5bn when it reports its own finals, up 21% year-on-year, citing strong iron ore prices. With this in mind, the bank also predicts a final dividend totalling US$6bn.

These will also be the first set of results under Rio’s new CEO Jakob Stausholm, the former CFO who took the helm at the start of the year following the resignation of Jean-Sebastian Jacques.

“Mr Stausholm has already shaken up the management team at the iron ore business, in Australia and at company board level, to re-establish the company’s environmental, social and governance credentials. Analysts and shareholders will no doubt look to him for any early pointers of group strategy, too, especially with regard to its reliance on iron ore, the troubled – and expensive – expansion of a huge copper project in Mongolia and also its carbon footprint (where offloading its coal assets is a huge step forward)”, said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.

BAT results to light up mid-week

Mid-week will see final results from British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS), following shortly behind good news for the cigarette maker after the UK’s Serious Fraud Office scrapped a corruption investigation into the company’s Africa business last month.

In terms of numbers, analysts at UBS expect BATS to report 3.6% organic growth for 2020 and predict 6.7% growth for 2021, so investors will be looking to see if the company’s own guidance aligns with this.

Shareholders will also be looking for updates on the company’s new generation products (NGPs), which include vaping brands such as Vype and glo, the company’s flagship tobacco heating product, as it looks to target markets that are increasingly rejecting traditional combustible products such as cigarettes.

Plus500 has finals in stock

Plus500 Ltd (LON:PLUS) is dropping its finals mid-week to wrap up what has been an exceptional year.

The online trading platform benefited from people cooped up at home turning their attention to investing.

There was a slight negative in the fourth quarter given customer trading gains, which led to guidance of underlying earnings (EBITDA) of US$515mln being slightly lower than previously expected, analysts at Peel Hunt said.

“Whilst the stock will remain inherently volatile, there is little in the current price for the continuation of elevated trading activity,” the broker said.

The market will focus on whether the strong growth in active customers in the financial year 2020 will support momentum going into the current year.

Current consensus for 2021 expects revenues to halve, which could be conservative given the current period of volatility which is stimulating trading activity.

Bank results begin with Barclays with Natwest following close behind

On Thursday, Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) will be the first of the FTSE 100 banks to report its full-year earnings numbers, with NatWest Group PLC (LON:NWG) on Friday being the second.

Investor eyes will be looking out for dividend news after the banking regulator lifted the temporary ban it had imposed last March in the teeth of the initial coronavirus crisis.

The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority arm, which last spring had told the banks to hold fire on payouts due to concerns about the potential effect of the coronavirus pandemic, said in December that banks are sufficiently “well capitalised and able to support the economy”.

True to its name, the PRA said dividends should be “prudent” when they are restarted in the second half of this year, noting that there are still high levels of economic uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, with ongoing economic disruption from the effects of the virus, widespread government economic support still in place and unemployment expected to climb.

The cancellation of final or fourth-quarter payments for 2019 and any quarterly or interim payments for 2020 saved them around GBP14bn in cash, says analyst Russ Mould at AJ Bell.

After the Big Five banks made GBP20.3bn in credit and asset impairments in the first three quarters of 2020, these charges plunged from the second to third quarters, though lockdowns in November and in place currently “may mean the banks tread carefully”, Mould added.

For Barclays, City analysts expect the blue-eagle bank to declare a dividend of 3.5p a share for 2020, costing it around GBP600mln, with headline pre-tax profit expected to slump to GBP285mln in the fourth quarter from GBP1.1bn a year earlier, meaning full-year PTP for 2020 is seen coming in around GBP2.8bn versus GBP4.4bn in 2019.

Looking forward to 2021, as many investors will, UBS analysts said they expect continued pressure on net interest income from low interest rates and a mix shift towards mortgages and government guaranteed SME lending and away from credit cards, and normalisation of investment bank revenues, means they forecast a 5% fall in income lower in 2021.

“But we expect improving profitability on lower loan losses and potential outperformance on capital distributions, assisted by potential loan loss reserve releases in 2022.”

As for NatWest, the bank formerly known as RBS has the biggest relative capital reserves of the five, with UBS noting that it has around three years’ worth of ‘normal’ loan loss reserves against currently un-defaulted loans.

It is forecast to report underlying profits of GBP218mln, according to UBS’s models.

“We expect non interest income to remain subdued in 4Q and to see further pressure in 2021 as capital market revenues normalise and capital is withdrawn from NatWest Markets’ rates business in particular.”

Is Hays returning to work?

Hays PLC (LON:HAS) is releasing its interim results on Thursday after already publishing second quarter net fee trends, with like-for-like dropping 19% though it’s an improvement from the 29% tumble in the previous three months.

Analysts at UBS still see scope for a positive surprise in the return to work rates and profit outlook, and forecast like-for-like to be down 13% in the third quarter.

After guiding for GBP25mln underlying earnings (EBIT) in the first half, the investment bank expects it to rise to GBP30mln in the second half, even despite a GBP10mln headwind from working days, an additional GBP7mln of strategic investment and the lack of GBP5mln government support scheme use.

This suggests an underlying drop-through on net fee recovery of over 70%, which bodes well for 2022 and beyond, analysts commented.

SEGRO slides in with results

SEGRO PLC (LON:SGRO), also known as Slough Estates Group, will report its final results on Friday. The company will be looking to capitalise on the growing importance of out-of-town warehouses and industrial sites in the post-pandemic world as the surge in e-commerce usage and the increased bureaucracy of post-Brexit trade seem to bode well for such assets.

The company, which has more than half of its GBP13.3bn portfolio based around London and the Thames Valley corridor, is in a particularly advantageous position as tailbacks of lorries in Kent and the rest of the South East will likely see freight firms hunting around for nearby storage areas while the paperwork is filed for transport to the continent.

A trading update in January trading update showed that that 98% of SEGRO’s 2020 rent roll had been received on time and that 88% of rents for the first quarter of 2021 has also been paid, so investors will be hoping the trend can continue as the UK economy emerges from the pandemic.

Macro matters

In the week’s macroeconomic data there will be preliminary readings from the February purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) for the UK, US, EU and other major economies.

Forecasts are mixed, with UK services regaining some strength but still expected to remain deep in negative territory and manufacturing seen tumbling, while US manufacturing and services are forecast to dip but remain in expansionary territory.

Retail figures will also be in focus from the UK (on Friday), US (o Wednesday) and elsewhere, with numbers having surged past where they were before the pandemic began, but now showing signs of flagging under the latest lockdowns.

Data on inflation will be out in the UK on Wednesday, the same day as minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s last monetary meeting.

“Nothing was decided – therefore it’s important to hear the details beneath the calm facade,” said Marshall Gittler at BDSwiss.

On retail, he added: “Retail sales are especially important for the US, where personal consumption accounts for some 70% of GDP. January is expected to see the first rise in retail sales in four months, which may be taken to be a sign of recovery and positive for US assets.

“Personally, I’m amazed at how retail sales have rebounded. The only thing I’ve bought over the past year that I couldn’t eat was two pairs of shorts and two pairs of trousers during the summer (and I never wore one of the trousers, because I so rarely went out of my house anyway.)”

Significant announcements expected for week ending 19 February:

Monday February 15:

Interims: City of London Investment Group PLC (LON:CLIG), GRIT Real Estate Income Group Limited (LON:GR1T)

Tuesday February 16:

Trading announcements: Safestore Holdings PLC (LON:SAFE)

Finals: Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN)

Interims: BHP Group PLC (LON:BHP), Blancco Technology Group PLC (LON:BLTG), Pan African Resources PLC (LON:PAF), Petra Diamonds Ltd (LON:PDL)

Wednesday February 17:

Finals: British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS), Plus500 Ltd (LON:PLUS), Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO), Burford Capital Limited (LON:BUR)

Interims: Transense Technologies PLC (LON:TRT)

Economic data: UK inflation, US retail sales, US Fed minutes

Thursday February 18:

Finals: Barclays PLC (LON:BARC), Indivior PLC (LON:INDV), Primary Health Properties PLC (LON:PHP), Smith & Nephew PLC (LON:SN.), Group PLC (LON:MONY). Hochschild Mining PLC (LON:HOC)

Interims: Hays PLC (LON:HAS), Wilmington PLC (LON:WIL)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 12.31 points off the index: Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB), BP PLC (LON:BP.), Pershing Square Holdings Ltd (LON:PSH), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON:GSK), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB)

Economic data: US jobless claims

Friday February 19:

Finals: Natwest Group PLC (LON:NWG), SEGRO PLC (LON:SGRO), TBC Bank Group PLC (LON:TBCG)

Economic data: UK consumer confidence, UK retail sales, UK flash PMIs, US flash PMIs

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