No profit warning repeat hoped for from British Gas owner Centrica

Aside from Centrica, the Day Ahead includes updates from the likes of water firm Severn Trent, booze retailer Majestic Wines, and pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers

British gas van
Away from the core domestic energy supply businesses, investors may also look with interest at some of Centrica’s recent investments into hydrocarbon exploration

About a year ago investors in British Gas parent Centrica PLC (LON:CNA) had to eat a profit warning, and, according to Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, the market will be hoping there won’t be a repeat with the FTSE 100-listed firm’s latest trading update, due on Thursday.

Spooner said: “In September the regulator announced the terms of caps on energy prices, which were less severe than expected and were viewed as a positive for the group and its ability to maintain the dividend next year.

“Any updates on cost savings and its ability to hit financial targets will be worth noting.”

Away from the core domestic energy supply businesses, investors may also look with interest at some of Centrica’s recent investments into hydrocarbon exploration and production opportunities in the UK.

Against a backdrop of Brexit and energy security, such investments may take some additional context and significance.

Investment programme focus for Severn Trent

Investors in mid-cap UK water and waste utility Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT) will be hoping to see a continuation of the positive form indicated earlier this year.

Back in the summer, Severn Trent flagged a “good start” to the current year.

At that time maintaining its outlook for the full year, the FTSE 250-listed company said: “We have made a good start to the financial year and there has been no material change to current year business performance or outlook.”

Operationally, efforts have been fixed on the delivery of a £100mln investment programme and on Thursday the market will be keen for an update and any potential commentary about any other forward-looking initiatives.

Majestic Wine hoping to toast continued sales growth

Meanwhile, investors will be hoping to pop a few champagne corks on when wine-seller Majestic Wines PLC (LON:WINE) releases its interims.

The company hiked its final dividend to 5.2p from 3.6p in June after it swung to a full year profit driven primarily by its Naked Wines division.

At the time, however, chairman Greg Hodder said the short-term market in the UK remained “tough”, although said the firm was confident of meeting its expectations for the new financial year.

Majestic shareholders will also be looking for any signs of the company’s investment in new customer acquisition which it announced in April, which it added may reduce the current year’s profits by £3mln.

M&B to illustrate pub issues

Pubs, however, are still facing the impact of rising wage costs, higher business rates and increased food and drink costs, while intense competition is keeping prices low.

They’re dealing with all this at a time when UK consumers are keeping a close eye on the pennies given the fall in real-terms earnings and continued Brexit uncertainty.

Trading has been more mixed for the likes of Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB), which will publish full-year numbers on Thursday.

M&B, which owns Harvester, Miller and Carter, and Toby Carvery is expected to report higher full-year sales, although City broker Liberum Capital doesn’t reckon that will filter down to the bottom line.

Significant events expected on Thursday November 22:

US Thanksgiving holiday

Trading updates: Centrica PLC (LON:CNA), Rotork PLC (LON:ROR), Bank of Georgia Group PLC (Q3) (LON:BGEO)

Interims: Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT), Majestic Wine PLC (LON:WINE), Mothercare plc (LON:MTC), MITIE Group PLC (LON:MTO), CMC Markets Plc (LON:CMCX), Hornby Plc (LON:HRN), Keller Group PLC (LON:KLR), Assura PLC (LON:AGR), Charles Stanley Group PLC (LON:CAY), Caledonia Investments PLC (LON:CLDN), IMImobile PLC (LON:IMO), Redcentric PLC (LON:RCN), Mountview Estates PLC (LON:MTVW), John Laing Environmental Assets Group Limited (LON:JLEN), First Property Group PLC (LON:FPO), TR Property Investment Trust plc (LON:TRY)

Finals: Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB), Euromoney Institutional Investors PLC (LON:ERM)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends: Carnival PLC (LON:CCL), DCC Plc (LON:DCC), Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB), National Grid PLC (LON:NG.), Vodafone PLC (LON:VOD)

Economic data: US weekly jobless claims

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