Thursday preview: Beware the Ides of March
Beware the Ides of March.
Investors' attention will continue to be trained on Britain's Parliament, assuming that on the previous evening MPs had voted down the possibility of a 'no deal' withdrawal.
In that case, which appeared to be the most likely result, lawmakers were expected to vote on Thursday evening on whether or not to ask for an extension to the deadline for leaving the European Union.
That would in turn put the ball back in Brussels' court, although few analysts appeared willing to venture a guess as to how hard - or not - the European Union would press Parliament.
Further afield, a barrage of Chinese data covering fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales, all covering the month of March, were set for release overnight.
In the corporate patch, Numis's Julian Carter sees Capita posting a 35.8% drop in full-year profit before tax to £260.0m, for earnings per share of 13.6p.
Significantly, Carter pointed out that the absence of the firm's traditional pre-close update hinted at a result within the range of £250m-275m towards which management had guided at the time of its interims.
The analyst also expected the outsourcer to have succeeded in achieving the first of £70m in savings out of the £175m by 2020 it had promised to deliver.
Nevertheless, organic revenues were pegged at down by 5.8% versus a decline of 4.2% over the first six months of 2018, with margins down from the 2017 level of 11.2% to 8.0%.
Carter also saw a 2.4% decline in sales in 2019 and cautioned it might be worse.
Net debt on the other hand is seen at about £465m or 1.3 times' EBITDA.
"Though the revenue growth outlook in the short-medium term is unexciting, we think simply executing the business transformation and cost savings (and evidencing them) should be sufficient to drive a re-rating of the shares from the current low valuation."
UBS's Rory McKenzie was of a similar view, anticipating adjusted profits before tax of £255m, versus a consensus forecast for £250-255m, alongside progress with the first phase of cots cuts.
Similarly and despite what was likely to be another challenging year ahead, McKenzie believed the company was set to reiterate its guidance for 2019 adjusted free cash flow of £200m.
Thursday March 14
Brooks Macdonald Group, DFS Furniture, Kin and Carta
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Quiz, Rank Group, TheWorks.Co.Uk
INTERIM EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Abcam, Adept Technology Group, Colefax Group, Craneware, Dunelm Group, Galliford Try, Hansard Global, JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust, JPMorgan Mid Cap Inv Trust, Jupiter Green Inv Trust, London Finance & Investment Group, Mid Wynd International Inv Trust, Ricardo, Standard Life UK Smaller Companies Trust, TR European Growth Trust, Trifast
QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE
MedicX Fund Ltd.
QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Assura , Blackrock North American Income Trust , Land Securities Group
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Business Inventories (US) (14:00)
Consumer Price Index (GER) (07:00)
Continuing Claims (US) (12:30)
Import and Export Price Indices (US) (12:30)
Initial Jobless Claims (US) (12:30)
New Homes Sales (US) (14:00)
Retail Sales (US) (12:30)
Capita, Capital & Regional, Capital Drilling Ltd. (DI), Cineworld Group, Just Group, Marshalls, Oakley Capital Investments Ltd. (DI), Oxford Biomedica, Savills
SPECIAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Electra Private Equity, Jupiter Fund Management , Thinksmart Limited (DI)
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Benchmark Holdings , Blackrock Income And Growth Investment Trust, Henderson Opportunities Trust, Octopus Titan VCT , Oxford Biodynamics
UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
RICS Housing Market Survey (00:01)
FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Anglo American, Apax Global Alpha Limited , CRH, Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd (Bermuda), Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. (Jersey), Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. (Singapore), Glanbia, GVC Holdings, Hongkong Land Holding Ltd. (Bermuda), Hongkong Land Holding Ltd. (Jersey), Hongkong Land Holding Ltd. (Sing.Reg), Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd (Singapore Reg), Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd. (Bermuda), Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd. (Jersey), Jardine Strategic Holdingd Ltd. (Bermuda), Jardine Strategic Holdingd Ltd. (Jersey REG), Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd. (Singapore), Jupiter Fund Management , Law Debenture Corp., Mandarin Oriental International (Bermuda), Mandarin Oriental International (Jersey), Mandarin Oriental International (Singapore), Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Rights & Issues Inv Trust Income Shares, RM, Spirent Communications, The Simplybiz Group, Tritax Eurobox (GBP)