The Week Ahead: M&S, Vodafone, Dairy Crest

Published in Investing on 5 November 2010

Plus results from Associated British Foods and Northern Foods, and some mining updates, too.

After a busy five days where macro-events such as the US elections and QE2 overshadowed company news, we're expecting a return to business as usual next week. And that means the following companies could see their results come under close scrutiny -- and their share prices react accordingly, too.

Foodies

There will be a few food-related announcements next week, starting with full year results from Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) on Tuesday. The company's pre-close trading update, delivered in September, made it sound like we have a strong second half and a good year all-round to look forward to. The shares have done pretty well of late though, so it's pretty much all in the price already.

On the same day we'll hear interim results from the much smaller Northern Foods (LSE: NFDS). Northern Foods' interim update last month was mixed. If the company performs in line with current analysts' forecasts, we'll see a fall in profits -- but with a prospective P/E of 7 and dividend yield of 9%, we might be looking at some underrated shares.

Dairy Crest (LSE: DCG) will announce interim results on Thursday, following on from an upbeat trading statement in September. After a 2010 slump, Dairy Crest looks to be heading back to previous profit levels, with a well-covered 5.5% dividend on the cards. It could be a bargain at today's levels.

Other food-related announcements will include first half figures from Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) on Tuesday, and the same from J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) on Wednesday.

Telecoms

Mobile phone giant Vodafone (LSE: VOD) will release its six-month figures in Tuesday, together with an update on the company's strategy. Vodafone's shares have climbed in recent months, but they're still offering one of the market's most solid dividends -- a well-covered 5% if current forecasts are right, from shares on a P/E of 11.

Vodafone's interim will be preceded by a third quarter update from Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) on Monday. The mobile satellite communications provider posted some impressive interim numbers in August, but it's going to take a pretty good second half to keep the recent share price climbing higher, especially as the expected 3.3% dividend looks like it will be barely covered.

Riches

We'll get some updates during the week from companies who dig for riches, be they useful things like oil and minerals or shiny baubles like gold. With global demand and prices rising for metals, minerals, and gold, the market will be expecting strong figures.

Tuesday will see preliminary full year figures from oil and gas explorer BowLeven (LSE: BLVN). Bowleven, which drills offshore from Cameroon, West Africa, has seen its share price rocket from around 30p early last year to £1.90 today.

Finland-based Talivaara Mining (LSE: TALV), which mainly digs up nickel and zinc (and is apparently sitting on a 46 year supply of nickel), will publish third quarter figures on Wednesday.

Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED), which mines metals mainly in India, will provide us with half year figures on Thursday. Vedanta shares have provided ample reward to those who bought near the 2009 low point of £5, fetching over £20 today.

A couple of gold diggers, AngloGold Ashanti (LSE: AGD) and European Goldfields (LSE: EGU) will report third quarter figures the same day.

Rags

Another keenly awaited announcement will be first half figures from ace online fashion seller ASOS (LSE: ASC). ASOS has performed brilliantly, but a P/E of 50 and no dividends yet? Ouch!

Notable announcements next week:

Monday:  Carr's Milling Industries, ASOS, Great Eastern Energy, Inmarsat, Lancashire Holdings,
Tuesday: Associated British Foods, BowLeven, Babcock, Blinkx, DCC, Kewill, Marks & Spencer, Northern Foods, Umeco, Vodafone, Yell, First Quantum Minerals, InterContinental Hotels
Wednesday: Fenner, 3i, Aveva, Great Portland Estates, J Sainsbury, Scottish & Southern Energy, Western Coal, Smurfit Kappa, Talvivaara Mining
Thursday: Euromoney Institutional Investor, Dairy Crest, Land Securities, Latchways, Vedanta Resources, Wincanton, Anglogold Ashanti, European Goldfields
Friday: Hornby

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