Thursday preview: easyJet to report first-quarter figures

easyJet unveils its first-quarter results Thursday in the wake of news that its founder threatened to sell further shares if the airline places an order for more aircraft.

easyJet unveils its first-quarter results Thursday in the wake of news that its founder threatened to sell further shares if the airline places an order for more aircraft.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou voiced his concern over the company's expansion plans in an open letter published on Monday, accusing directors of "squandering" cash on new planes. He warned directors he would sell his 37% family stake in the budget carrier if they go ahead with the order.

Analysts at Investec forecast passenger growth of 6.2% year-on-year to 13.7m and pegged revenue growth of 8.4% at £827.1m for the first quarter.

However the broker reduced its recommendation from 'buy' to 'hold' on Monday, saying: "The stock was our key 2012 airlines pick, but the shares have outpaced the market and we now project a period of share price stability rather than material growth, coupled with uncertainty over the outcome of a major new aircraft order in 2013."

In contrast, Morgan Stanley retained its 'overweight' stance on the stock on Wednesday, saying that it remains its "top pick in the European airline sector". The US broker's full-year profit before tax forecast of £356m is currently 13% ahead of consensus estimates.

Shares fell 0.12% to 856.00p at 16:00 a day ahead of the results.

Thursday January 24

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Dairy Crest Group, Tongaat-Hulett Ltd.

QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Marsh & Mclennan Cos Inc.

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Balance of Payments (EU) (09:00)

ECB Interest Rate (EU) (12:45)

Spanish Unemployment (Q4) (08:00)

Eurozone Manufacturing/Service sector PMIs (Jan.) (09:00)

US Initial Jobless Claims (Jan 19) (13:30)

US Leading indicators (Dec.) (15:00)

FINALS

Chemring

GMS

Mam Funds

IMSS

easyJet, Invensys, Carphone Warehouse, First Group

Q3

London Stock Exchange Group

AGMS

Botswana Diamonds, Invesco Leveraged High Yield Fund Ltd., Octopus VCT 3, Octopus VCT 4, Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies Trust, Sinclair (William) Holdings, Smiths News

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Barr (A.G.)

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

BBA Mortgage Lending Figures (09:30)

CBI Distributive Trades Surveys (11:00)

Speech MPC by Member Martin Weale (17:30)

Speech Andy Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability BoE (06:00)

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Aberdeen Asset Management

RD

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