Thursday preview: ECB, BoE, Mulberry, Ashtead
In focus on Thursday will be the interest rate decisions from both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE). With the BoE expected to freeze rates at 0.5% and leave its stimulus plans unchanged, an announcement by the ECB will likely take centre-stage given the severity of the current crisis in Europe, particularly as markets look ahead to the EU summit on Thursday evening.
Following Mario Draghi’s debut as ECB President last month in which he lowered rates from 1.5% to 1.25%, markets are generally expecting a further 25 percentage point cut to 1%, back to the level which was held from May 2009 to April 2011. According to Bloomberg on Wednesday, the bank may be drawing up plans to introduce a range of measure to stimulate bank lending.
AIM-listed upmarket fashion group Mulberry will present its interim results tomorrow. The firm, famous for its women’s bags and accessories, has not given any trading updates since its full-year results in June, but did say that current trade was strong, with retail like-for-like sales up by 42%. The group did announce the extension of existing distribution agreement with Club 21, its major distribution partner in Asia Pacific, in October.
Panmure Gordon said last week that it expects the first-half figures to be “excellent”. “Mulberry has only just begun to exploit its global opportunity and the most important number for investors to remember is that, in FY2011, its international revenue was only £41m. Therefore, its growth opportunity is huge,” said analyst Philip Dorgan.
“The shares are on a premium to all but Hermes of the European luxury goods universe, but the potential length and sustainability of top line growth justifies this, as well as the tendency to see upgrades on news,” he said.
Plant hire group Ashtead will also present its first-half report on Thursday, with investors hoping that the firm will not disappoint given its bullish outlook given in its first-quarter results; “Given the on-going structural change in the US rental market and the strong current performance, the board now anticipates a full year result substantially ahead of its previous expectations,” Ashtead said on 6 September.
UBS said in mid-November that it is looking for a pre-tax profit of £37m in the second quarter, but gave a “possible blue-sky” figure of £44m given the upside risks on rates and volumes.
API Group, Ashtead Group, Mulberry Group
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
First Derivatives, William Hill
QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Canadian General Investments Ltd.
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Bloomberg Consumer Confidence (US) (14:45)
Continuing Claims (US) (13:30)
ECB Interest Rate (EU) (12:45)
Factory Orders (GER) (11:00)
Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30)
Wholesales Inventories (US) (15:00)
Finsbury Growth & Income Trust
CareTech Holding, Redhall Group, Titon Holdings
Integra Group GDR (Reg S), Tesco
SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
BlackRock Greater Europe Inv Trust
JSC Uralkali GDR (Reg S)
Baobab Resources, Egdon Resources, Kolar Gold Ltd., Madagascar Oil, Yangtze China Investment Ltd. (DI)
PZ Cussons, Standard Chartered
UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
BoE Interest Rate Decision (12:00)
FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
BlackRock Greater Europe Inv Trust, Fidelity Asian Values