The Week Ahead: EU inflation, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and Burberry results


Investors come back from the Easter break to a few important companies results such as Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and retailer Burberry.

Fund Strategy looks at some key events shaping the week and what to expect.

Monday 17 April

  • China – GDP and economic data

Tuesday 18 April

  • US industrial production figures
  • World Economic Outlook – launch

Wednesday 19 April

  • EU inflation statistics
  • Associated British Foods (interim results)

The Share Centre investment research analyst Graham Spooner says: “In late February Associated British Foods provided a fairly detailed trading update, in which it outlined its expectations of an increase in full year profits to occur in the first half of the year, any further update on that will be of interest. Therefore, the market will not be expecting any significant changes in terms of first half numbers.

“Primark’s sales rose 11 per cent on a constant currency basis overall but investors will be focused especially on guidance for the UK stores in the second half, as like-for-like sales were disappointingly flat in the first half. Profits at the sugar division are expected to accelerate in 2017.”

  • Burberry (Q4 results)

Spooner says: “After a tough few years the group reported a more encouraging set of Q3 numbers and the market expects some of this to flow through to the Q4 results too. It seems as though confidence is returning among Chinese and Hong Kong based consumers and the UK retail business expects to do well on the back of travellers taking advantage of the weak pound.

“The online platform should continue to prosper, and further comments on the restructuring of the fragrance business will be expected. Meanwhile, investors will hope to see a payout ratio in the region of 40-50 per cent.”

Thursday 20 April

  • UK retail sales figures
  • Unilever (Q1 trading update)

Spooner says: “It’s been an interesting start to the year for Unilever with Kraft Heinz’s failed $143bn takeover bid in February. This was followed by a wide-ranging business review which has resulted in a number of significant changes and speculation about the future of CEO Paul Polman.

“While the market will be looking for more detail on how the different divisions are performing the group did say last week that trading so far this year remains on track to deliver sales growth of between 3 per cent and 5 per cent. Any further detail on dividend payments and potential changes to the group’s dual-headed legal structure will also be of interest.”

Friday 21 April

  • Flash Eurozone Purchasing Managers’ Index – report
  • IMF and World Bank Group – spring meetings
  • Property Transactions in the United Kingdom
  • Reckitt Benckiser (Q1 results)

Spooner says: “Reckitt Benckiser produces a number of well-known brands and products that are generally considered as everyday necessities in developed markets. Therefore, sales of these products will not vary hugely through the economic cycle which results in a relatively steady earnings and cash flow stream. Investors will be hoping for a further update on its recently announced strategic review of its food business, along with emerging market performance and the health and hygiene business.

“After a poor finish to the year the share price has started once again to move in the right direction and the market, despite thinking the latest acquisition of Mead Johnson was overpriced, was generally positive towards it.”