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Thursday preview: Hammerson, Electrocomponents updates, services surveys

By Oliver Haill

Date: Wednesday 04 Apr 2018

LONDON (ShareCast) - (ShareCast News) - It remains thin gruel in terms of Thursday's corporate news, with trading updates from property developer Hammerson and distributor Electrocomponents on Thursday, with surveys on the UK's and the eurozone's services sectors on the macro platter.
Hammerson is due to provide a first-quarter update after a roller-coaster few months for the FTSE 100-listed retail property developer.

Late last year Hammerson shook hands with bosses of smaller rival Intu on an all-share takeover that was designed to create a group with £21bn of property across Europe, including 19 of the UK's top 30 shopping centres.

Then, last month French group Klépierre, almost seven years after a failed attempt to acquire a former incarnation of Intu, made a £5bn approach for Hammerson. Hammerson's board described it as "unsolicited and entirely opportunistic in its timing".

The trading update will give the group a platform to show exactly why, said analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown.

A pre-close trading statement is also due from Electrocomponents, the distributor of electronics and industrial equipment for engineers.

After a stagnant few years, recent trading has been strong, noted Hargreaves analyst George Salmon, with February's trading update confirming double-digit percentage sales increases across Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific region.

"Comparatives are getting tougher, but it'd be good to see this momentum continue into the spring," he said.

"It's not just the top line where improvements are being realised. Customer satisfaction is growing, and with cost savings in the pipeline, analysts are hoping operating margins can rise. We may need to wait until full year results in May, but since the group has geared investors to expect further efficiency measures, we'll be keeping an eye out for any early word of more earning-enhancing plans."

Broker Numis estimated that fourth-quarter growth will be around 10% after a was very strong third quarter but a slower January against a more challenging comparative. "This could create some upside potential to our FY18 Group SPD growth assumption of 12%."

German factory orders, eurozone retail figures, the US trade balance and jobless claims also are among data points that traders will be keeping an eye out for.

In London, the 0930 BST release of the services purchasing managers' index from IHS Markit will be watched as it takes the temperature of the country's dominant sector at the end of what's been a fairly uninspiring first quarter.

The market expects the March PMI to have cooled off to 54.0 from the 54.5 a month before.

Barclays said the sector's confidence is likely to have remained stable around the average seen in the past six months: "Retail sector weakness may be offset by strength in professional services as Brexit preparations continue."

With the survey conducted both sides of the 19 March announcement about progress on Brexit transition period was announced on 19 March, Barclays said the impact on corporate sentiment is likely to depend on whether the majority of survey responses were taken prior to or after this date.

Though US trade is dominating the headlines amid the spat with China, none of the tariffs have been imposed and may not be for months, meaning the US trade balance remains unaffected.

Economists predict only a modest widening in the trade deficit to $56.8bn in February, having widened fairly sharply since last October.



Thursday April 05

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

PMI Services (EU) (09:00)
PMI Composite (EU) (09:00)
Producer Price Index (EU) (10:00)
Retail Sales (EU) (10:00)
Balance of Trade (US) (12:30)
Continuing Claims (US) (13:30)
Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30)
Factory Orders (GER) (07:00)
PMI Composite (GER) (09:55)
PMI Services (GER) (09:55)

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

PMI Services (10:30)

FINALS

HSS Hire, Walker Greenbank

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Electrocomponents, Hammerson

ANNUAL REPORT

ProPhotonix (DI), Rentokil Initial

SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

South32 Limited (DI)

SPECIAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Direct Line Insurance Group, F & C UK High Income Trust B Shares, Quartix Holdings

EGMS

Himalayan Fund NV

AGMS

Scottish American Inv Company





FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Barclays, Greencore Group, MTI Wireless Edge Ltd., Thomas Cook Group

FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Amino Technologies, Aviva, Chemring Group, Convatec Group , Direct Line Insurance Group, Elecosoft, FBD Holdings, Fisher (James) & Sons, GKN, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, IMI, John Laing Infrastructure Fund Ltd, Lighthouse Group, Melrose Industries, Moneysupermarket.com Group, Old Mutual, Pearson, Quartix Holdings , Rotork, Schroder Asian Total Return Investment Company , Shore Capital Group Ltd., Smith & Nephew, St James's Place, Taylor Wimpey, TP ICAP, Travis Perkins, Ultra Electronics Holdings, Virgin Money Holdings (UK)

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Mid Wynd International Inv Trust, South32 Limited (DI)

INTERIM EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Bioventix, Ferguson, Go-Ahead Group, Origin Enterprises, Photo-Me International, Redrow, Smith (DS), Smiths Group, St Ives

QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Blue Capital Alternative Income Fund Ltd (DI), F & C UK High Income Trust , F&C Private Equity Trust, Primary Health Properties, Schroder Income Growth Fund, SQN Secured Income Fund