5 Shares for the Week Ahead

LONDON -- Some key FTSE 100 companies will be reporting figures next week, with one set of full-year results and a number of interims due. FTSE 100 companies have been under pressure of late, with poor European economic news sending the whole index downward. Some good news could help bring us a bit of respite -- and a bit of homework could help you get ahead of the pack.

Here's a look at what's coming our way.

Compass (LSE: CPG.L  )
Compass, the multinational food-services company, will be issuing full-year results on Wednesday, and current forecasts are suggesting a solid performance. Earnings should be up about 9%, and most analysts are expecting a dividend yield of a little over 3%.

At the third-quarter stage in July, the firm told us of challenging economic conditions in Europe, but the story seemed positive overall, and we can probably be fairly confident that next week's figures will live up to expectations.

British Land (LSE: BLND.L  )
Looking ahead to interim results coming our way, Tuesday will bring us first-half figures from British Land, the FTSE 100 real-estate investment trust. This share has fallen back a bit of late, and at 514 pence it is down 12% from its recent high of 586 pence.

But even though forecasts suggest flat earnings for the current year, we should be seeing a dividend yield of around 5%. What's more, if property prices and rental yields improve over the longer term, I think this share could prove to be a nice investment.

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT.L  )
On Wednesday we should have news from Johnson Matthey in the form of half-time results. Shares in the speciality chemicals company have fallen back a bit of late, having previously peaked at more than 30% up on the year. But even after giving up some of that gain, the price is up around 18% at 2,264 pence.

At the first-quarter stage, the firm announced "steady progress," with pre-tax profit coming in slightly ahead of the same quarter last year at 100 million pounds (versus 98 million pounds in 2011). The City has forecast a flat year for earnings, with a dividend yield of about 2.5% expected, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Johnson Matthey do better than that.

SABMiller (LSE: SAB.L  )
SABMiller, the drinks giant behind such famous brands as Peroni and Grolsch, has achieved what many companies can only dream of: It has seen its share price beat the FTSE for 11 straight years. And for 2012 so far, the price is up about 20% to 2,627 pence against the meager 5% the FTSE All Share has managed. So unless anything goes drastically wrong soon, it looks like that run will be extended to 12 years.

On Thursday, we'll get some idea how things are going, as the firm is set to reveal its interim results. The market is expecting the usual steady earnings growth of 9% for this year and 12% for next, and I'd be surprised if the firm didn't meet those projections. The dividend, however, is modest, with a yield of only about 2.5% expected.

Mothercare (LSE: MTC.L  )
Mothercare, the small-cap retailer that has provided recovery investors with rich pickings over the past year will release interim figures on Thursday. After hitting a low of 127 pence almost exactly a year ago, the shares are now standing at 294 pence for a gain of 130%.

The City expects 200% earnings growth this year and next, but the key question is how much of that is already factored into the share price. Even with those lofty expectations, 2014 forecasts put the shares on a P/E of 17, and I feel the current valuation will need more growth into 2015 and beyond to justify further upside. Thursday's news should shed a bit more light on the turnaround.

How to build greater wealth
Snapping up a nice recovery bargain from time to time can really help you on the road to making your first million. But the real secret to becoming rich from shares is simple long-term investing in fundamentally sound companies and letting steady growth and dividends power your wealth upward. That's why it's always worth keeping abreast of what news is coming our way each week and doing some background research on promising-looking candidates.

Achieving that near-mythical millionaire status might seem like a pipedream, but it really is feasible for ordinary investors like you and I. But if you have your doubts, read this free Motley Fool report and see if you change your mind. The report won't cost you a penny, so click here to have a copy delivered to your inbox while it's still available.

Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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