LONDON -- Full-year reporting season for companies with years ending December and January extends well into March, and we have a good number of FTSE 100 firms among them. Here are five important sets of results from various sectors coming our way during the month:
Thursday March 7, Standard Life
We have a number of insurers reporting in early March, including Standard Life (LSE:SL), which will bring us full-year figures on March 7.
Standard Life has been paying steadily rising dividends over the past five years, and the 2012 payout is expected to be lifted further. The yield will fall to around 4.2%, as the share price has had a cracking year, gaining 47% from 235 pence a year ago to 345 pence today -- last year saw a yield of 6.7%. But that's still pretty good, and it should be well covered.
October's third-quarter update was positive, with chief executive David Nish saying: "Standard Life has performed well in the first nine months of the year, continuing to grow our assets despite the uncertain economic environment."
Tuesday March 12, Antofagasta
The mining sector has been hit by falling metal and mineral prices, and copper-focused miner Antofagasta (LSE:ANTO) has seen its share price fall more than 15% over the past 12 months, to 1,099 pence. The year to December 2012 is expected to show a 10% fall in earnings per share, but if further City forecasts are to be believed, then that should bottom out with the next two years pretty flat. The dividend yield is expected to be around 2.8%, and it should be more than two and a half times covered.
Third-quarter results looked encouraging, with revenue up for the first nine months of the year after copper, gold, and molybdenum volumes picked up -- but average prices for copper and molybdenum did fall. Full-year results are due on March 12.
Thursday March 14, Wm. Morrison
Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LSE:MRW) has had a tough year, with its share price sliding. At one stage it fell nearly 15%, but has recovered to 260 pence -- approximately 10% down.
The company itself appears to feel its shares are too cheap, and has been on a buyback spree over the past few months -- there are plans to acquire and cancel 1 billion pounds in shares over a two-year period, with 329 million shares having been purchased up to Jan. 7, and more have been bought since.
In its post-Christmas update, Morrison told us that the festive period was tough and that it expects "difficult market conditions" to continue through 2013. But despite all the gloom, City analysts are expecting the year to January 2013 to show a slight improvement in earnings, putting the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of under 10 with a dividend yield of 4.5% predicted. We'll have the full figures on March 14.
Thursday March 21, Next
Next (LSE:NXT) is one of our stronger high-street retailers, and has weathered the recent economic storms considerably better than some others, which have sadly disappeared or are struggling -- and the share price has gained 50% over the past 12 months to reach 4,186 pence.
Next will deliver results for the year to January 2013 on March 21, and analysts are expecting something good. There's a 12% rise in earnings predicted, with a relatively modest (but very well covered) dividend yield of 2.4% on the cards.
One of Next's key strengths is its multichannel retail model, and January's trading statement told us that Next Directory sales were up 11.2% in November and December and 10.5% for the year to date. Online sales trends will be an important thing to look for when the results are with us.
Tuesday March 26, Kingfisher
Kingfisher (LSE:KGF), which is due to release full-year results on March 26, is a very different kind of retailer. Best known in the U.K. for its B&Q and ScrewFix brands, Kingfisher has actually performed strongly throughout the downturn when spending on home improvements might be expected to feel a squeeze -- though there is the opposite effect of people who can't afford to move deciding to spiff up their current homes instead.
An update on Feb. 21 told us that like-for-like sales for the 14 weeks to Feb. 2 were down 3.4%, with B&Q responsible for a large part of that with sales down 6.4%. That hit the share price, which is down a few percent over the past 12 months to 276 pence. Forecasts suggest a 13% fall in earnings per share for the full year.
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