April 15, 2015

Thursday's agenda: Diageo facing numerous headwinds

Thursday sees interims from high street stalwarts Debenhams and WH Smith, plus fast moving consumer goods giant Unilever.


The latter is expected by the market to deliver first quarter organic sales growth of 2.1%, but currency movements are sure to have had a significant effect on the Anglo-Dutch firm’s numbers.


The market has pencilled in a figure of €12.4bn for total sales.


The company has already indicated a slow start to 2015, and it is facing touch comparatives in China.


Johnnie Walker whisky maker Diageo issues an interim management statement, covering its fiscal third quarter.


The second quarter performance was good, and the company will have been cheered by the cut in whisky duty in the recent Budget.


UBS reckons the interim management statement is unlikely to be a positive catalyst for the shares.


“We believe Diageo continues to face numerous headwinds across its regions, with the one exception of Africa, where it recently stated it was still seeing 9% organic sales growth,” the Swiss bank said.


“We expect North America to see continued weak sales trends (albeit slightly improved from the H1 decline of -0.1% to +0.5% in Q3 15e).


“We expect continued and significant destocking in South East Asia to drag the Asia Pacific region lower. Latam [Latin America] is likely seeing similar trends as its H1 trend (weak volumes, stronger price/mix),” it added.


UBS is forecasting third quarter organic sales growth of 1.5% from a year earlier.


Significant announcements expected


Finals: Epwin Group (LON:EPWN), Inditherm (LON:IDM), Mobile Tornado Group (LON:MBT)


Interims: Debenhams (LON:DEB), Unilever (LON:ULVR), WH Smith (LON:SMWH)


Trading statements: Diageo (LON:DGE), e2v technologies (LON:E2V), Ferrexpo (LON:FXPO), Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HL.), Mothercare (LON:MTC), Persimmon (LON:PSN), SABMiller (LON:SAB)


Economic: UK - RICS house price balance. US - Weekly jobless claims



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