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LONDON -- We've already taken a look at three companies that are due to bring us updates, and the December 2012 reporting season is almost over. But we do have a few more important firms in the news next week. Here are three you might want to look out for.
Next (LSE: NXT )
Widely considered one of the U.K.'s strongest retailers, Next is due to release full-year results on Thursday. While some retailers have sadly gone to the wall during the recession, all Next suffered was earnings per share falling 8% in 2009, and since then earnings and dividends have continued to grow.
Forecasts suggest a further 12% earnings-per-share rise for the year ending January 2013, which puts the shares on a P/E of 14.7 based on a price of 4,150 pence. That P/E is slightly above the FTSE 100 average, but not by much. There's also a 13% hike to the annual dividend expected for a yield of 2.5%.
In January, Next issued full-year guidance and estimated that pre-tax profit would be in the range of 611 million pounds to 625 million pounds, with EPS growth 14% to 17%. The company expects to have spent 245 million pounds buying back shares during the year.
United Utilities (LSE: UU ) (NASDAQOTH.UUGRY)
Thursday will also see a pre-close update from United Utilities ahead of annual results for the year ending March 2013. Earnings have been up and down a bit in recent years, but United has generally offered a steady dividend yield of about 5% to 6% during that time. According to forecasts, the total dividend should be up by about 8% to 34.5 pence per share. But with the share price having gained 12% over the past 12 months, the yield could now be around 4.8%.
Within the company's last interim update in January, we were told that first-half trading had been "in line with the group's expectations." It seems unlikely we'll get any surprises on Thursday. Full-year results are due on May 23.
Premier Oil (LSE: PMO )
We should have full-year results from Premier Oil on Thursday, too, and they should be pretty good. For the year ending December 2012, analysts are expecting earnings to rise 40%, putting the shares on a fairly modest P/E of about 11.5. And that multiple is set to fall to eight for 2013 following another earnings rise of a similar magnitude.
With forecasts like that, it's perhaps surprising that Premier Oil shares are down about 6% over the past 12 months, especially after January's trading and operations update revealed that production increased 43% in 2012 and that "a further significant increase in production is expected during 2013." The group also anticipates breaking new ground by announcing a dividend for the year.
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