UK Earnings Reports – 3 May Preview

Written by: Frank Quin
May 2, 2013

Tomorrow, Friday May 3, sees a further round in the seasonal reporting process. Here’s the line-up:

**Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS)**
Analysts are divided ahead of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s release tomorrow of its interim management statement covering the first quarter of 2013. The Wall Street Journal has five analysts recommending a ‘buy’, eight a ‘sell’ and 14 calling a ‘hold’. In mid-day trading today in London, the RBS share price was holding around the 306 pence mark, with the market seemingly unfazed by the penalties, which with customer compensation totalled some $14 million, handed out last week to its US subsidiaries for breaches of consumer and banking laws, to which RBS had pleaded ‘no contest’.

But RBS’ share price remains well shy of the year-high of 367.8 pence reached on 28 January. But the relative stability in the stock in recent weeks suggests the market is over the enormous – £6 billion – hit to profits in 2012.
**Direct Line Insurance Group plc (LON:DLG)**
This partial hive-off from RBS – the bank put up a 30 percent stake in last October’s IPO and in March announced plans to sell down to just under 50 percent – is also due to report on 3 May. The retail general insurer, with auto a specialty and the annoying bobbling British bulldog Churchill in its stable, will doubtless be looking to make a strong statement of the merits of being decoupled from its troubled parent.

At midday on 2 May, Direct Line’s share price was holding around 205 pence, having traded between 203 and 206 pence during the morning and being comfortably above the 185p posted on the first trading day back on 11 October.
**Capital & Counties Properties plc (LON:CAPC)**
This London-focused property investor and developer has attracted some positive analyst press ahead of tomorrow’s expected Q1 2013 interim management statement, with Jeffries International reaffirming it’s ‘hold’ rating and JP Morgan Chase upgrading the stock to ‘overweight’. In total, nine analysts reckon it’s a hold, with another six running with ‘buy’ and five rating it a ‘sell’. With some prime City and West End properties in its portfolio, Capital & Counties looks as well-placed as any UK property company to ride out the recession.

The market seemingly agrees, with Capital & Counties’ share price in London steady in a range of 306-307 pence in morning trading today (2 May) and a steady climb since the year-to-date low of 239.50p back on 14 January.
**Laird plc (LON:LRD)**
Whereas most investors and analysts have a handle on property, sophisticated electronic componentry design and manufacture is a little harder to rate, which perhaps explains a degree of market mystification about this hi-tech manufacturer which started out way back in 1898 as Cammell Laird, warship builder. Ahead of tomorrow’s scheduled release of Q1 2013 results, analyst sentiment – at least as reported by The Financial Times – was holding at ‘hold’, achieved during polling last week, whereas in early March the consensus was that the stock was best let go.

The market seems similarly bemused. Half an hour into this morning’s trading on the LSE, Laird’s share price spiked at 229.5 pence but subsequently traded its way down to 214p at midday, with a recovery to 217 at press-time. And over the course of the year to date, the stock has moved in a broad range, from its low of 206 pence as the year got under way to the high of 249.30 posted on 27 February.
**Renishaw plc (LON:RSW)**
!m[](/uploads/story/2081/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)Another hi-tech equipment maker due to report tomorrow, Renishaw has had a Laird-like handling by analysts polled by the FT. Operating out of the well-known Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, Renishaw – which designs and makes all kinds of things for measuring and analysing the weather and carrying out complicated medical procedures – is mainly seen as a hold, with the eight analysts willing to make a call reckoning on a median target price of 1,945 pence by year’s end.
In London trading today, Renishaw’s share price has been all over the shop. Kicking off at 1,700p just after the bell, it plunged in short order to 1,650 before recovering mid-morning to 1,677, only to plunge again, this time to 1,632 around 2pm BST. And they’re all way below the year-to-date high of 2,081p achieved on 2 January.

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