Thursday preview: SABMiller and Mothercare

Markets are expected to be pretty subdued on Thursday with Wall Street closed for Thanksgiving; here in the UK however, investors will be looking out for first-half results from beverages giant SABMiller and High Street retailer Mothercare.

Markets are expected to be pretty subdued on Thursday with Wall Street closed for Thanksgiving; here in the UK however, investors will be looking out for first-half results from beverages giant SABMiller and High Street retailer Mothercare.

As for SABMiller, the company saw good growth in lager volumes shipped across most regions in the first half of its financial year. On an organic basis, lager volumes for the six months to the end of September were 4% ahead of the prior year. Soft drinks volumes were 6% higher year-on-year on an organic basis.

Charles Stanley is forecasting revenue of $16,940m, leading to profit before tax of $2,575m, but warns there is likely to be material variation in trading conditions by regions.

SABMiller "remains well placed to benefit from growth in urban middle class populations in emerging markets, which aspire to drink branded beer and can increasingly afford to do so," notes Charles Stanley's Sam Hart.

"Trading conditions in developed markets are likely to remain more challenging, but significant potential remains to improve operational efficiency in these markets and they will continue to be an important source of cash to invest in faster growth markets," Hart added.

Meanwhile, the market is looking for baby and mummy products retailer Mothercare to follow up on its better-than-expected second-quarter trading statement last month.

The firm said that like-for-like sales in the UK returned to growth (+0.3%) in the 13 weeks to October 13th, from a sharp decline (-6.7%) in the first quarter. The shares have jumped an impressive 34% since the trading update.

However, analyst Kate Calvert from Seymour Pierce said on Monday to expect a "reality check" when the first-figures come out. "We expect Mothercare for the 28 weeks to October 13th to report a H1 loss of £2m at the pre-tax level versus FY11 loss of £4.4m," she said.

Calvert said that she expects the gross margin is expected to be hit by "promotional activity to clear stock and reinvestment into entry level price repositioning."

INTERIMS

Dart Group, Mothercare, SABMiller, Sepura, Young & Co's Brewery 'A' Shares

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Goals Soccer Centres, Hansteen Holdings, Smart Metering Systems

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Consumer Confidence Indicator (EU) (10:00)

Q3

ADC African Development Corporation GmbH, Avengardco Investments Public Ltd GDR, Bridge Energy Asa, Wentworth Resources Ltd (CDI)

GMS

Impellam Group

FINALS

Daily Mail and General Trust A (Non.V), Grainger, Phytopharm

ANNUAL REPORT

Firestone Diamonds

AGMS

Close Brothers Group

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

CBI Industrial Trends Surveys (11:00)

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Thorpe (F.W.)

BC

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