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.
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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