LONDON -- We've already had a look at three companies due to report next week as we get close to the end of the reporting season for firms with years ending in December -- but there are still some important ones to come. Here are three more that are due to bring us annual results next week.
Wm. Morrison (LSE:MRW)
On Thursday we should have full-year results from Wm. Morrison Supermarkets, and they might paint a picture of a bargain. As Morrisons loses market share to its rivals, including a resurgent Tesco, investors have punished the price, sending it down 15% from its March high last year to 260 pence now.
But despite that, City analysts are expecting a 4% rise in earnings for the year ending January 2013, putting the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 10, which is below its rivals' valuations of about 12. There's also a 4.5% dividend yield expected, and it should be more than twice covered by earnings.
So is this share one to be avoided due to Morrisons' recently fallen market share, or one to buy for its better-than-average dividend and low P/E? That's for you to decide, but next Thursday's figures should help.
Home Retail (NYSE:HOME)
Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, is due to give us a year-end update on Thursday ahead of results due on May 1. The recent interim update for the 18 weeks to Jan. 5 was pretty upbeat, indicating a turnaround at troubled Argos, which saw 42% of its sales coming from the Internet, with a 125% boost to mobile commerce.
At the time, the company told us that it expects pre-tax profit to come in around 10 million pounds ahead of the then-current market consensus of 73 million pounds, and that it expects to end the year with more than 300 million pounds in cash on its books.
Sales at Homebase were down 4.5% to 453 million pounds, and analysts are now expecting earnings per share of about 7.2 pence, putting the 128 pence shares on a P/E of 17.8. That might sound a bit high, but it seems to be based on expectations of a strengthening recovery.
And again on Thursday, we're due full-year results from gaming software specialist Playtech. The company, which provides gambling products and services and supplies the industry's leading operators, has seen its shares climb by 80% over the past 12 months to 548 pence.
Playtech, which last week announced the sale of its 29% stake in William Hill Online to William Hill (LSE:WMH) for 424 million pounds, released a fourth-quarter update in early February, telling us that total revenue for the 12 months (excluding the impact of acquisitions) rose by 53% to 317.5 million euros, with a share of profit from William Hill Online bringing in 50.6 million euros.
Playtech has been lifting its dividend strongly each year, and the payout is expected to more than double this time -- though with the soaring share price, the yield should be a relatively modest 3% or so.
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