LONDON -- Next week is a busy week for news from FTSE 100 companies as first-quarter results time for those whose years end in December approaches -- and it comes after many of our biggest companies enjoyed a strong 2012. Here are three top firms reporting next week.
Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF )
Tuesday will bring us interim results from Associated British Foods, and according to February's pre-close update, operating profit will be up on last year thanks to a strong performance from Primark. First-half earnings per share should be "substantially ahead," though full-year expectations were unchanged at the time. Current forecasts suggest a rise in adjusted EPS of about 10%, and that is expected to be weighted toward the first half.
The Associated British Foods share price has had a great year, gaining 50% over the past 12 months to 1,829 pence -- though it has been even higher, touching 1,943 pence a couple of weeks ago. After that climb, the shares are on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of about 19.
ARM (LSE: ARM ) (NASDAQ: ARMH )
We should have first-quarter figures from ARM Holdings the same day. ARM shares have been on a bullish run since last summer but have dropped back a little over the past couple of months. Since peaking at 985 pence on March 6, the price has slipped to 879 pence -- but that's still a rise of about 80% since June.
Full-year results for 2012 brought a 20% rise in normalized pre-tax profit to 276.5 million pounds, with EPS up 18% to 14.7 pence. The latest forecasts suggest earnings of about 19 pence per share this year, which would be a 30% rise. High-growth shares like this, of course, usually attain high P/E multiples, and ARM is no exception: The forward P/E for 2013 estimates is about 45.
GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK ) (NYSE: GSK )
On Wednesday, we should have a Q1 update from GlaxoSmithKline, a constituent of the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio. And judging by the share price performance of late, investors must be expecting a good year: The shares are up 25% since mid-November to today's price of 1,658 pence.
For the full year, City analysts are forecasting EPS growth of more than 20% and are expecting a dividend yield of about 5%. That would put the shares on a forward P/E of about 14, which is close to the FTSE long-term average -- but with a better-than-average dividend.
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