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Legal & General to see new chief exec hog spotlight on Wednesday

While the insurer is scheduled to report its finals, the figures may be overshadowed by the new head of its investment management arm Michelle Scrimgeor

Legal and General
Deutsche Bank expects L&G to report continuing operating profits of £2.2bn, up 8% on the prior year

Shares in UK insurer and investment firm Legal & General Group PLC (LON:LGEN) have recovered at the start of the year and investors will be keen to see full-year profits do the same after a challenging first half.

L&G, which reports its annual results on Wednesday, saw pre-tax profit fall 9% to £942mln in the first half as volatility in global financial markets weighed on its investment portfolio.

But the company has said it is on course to deliver 10% increase in earnings per share per year out to 2020 as it focuses on “attractive high-growth markets” within investment management, investing and annuities, and insurance.

“Investors will be keen to see if assets under management breach the £1trn mark and whether their three-tier strategy to offset the fall in individual annuity sales is coming through,” according to The Share Centre.

“However, the media focus is likely to turn to the recent announcement of Michelle Scrimgeor who has been selected L&G Investment Management's new chief executive.”

Scrimgeor, the European chief of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, will succeed Mark Zinkula, who will step down as head of the investment management division in August after eight years in the role.

Deutsche Bank expects L&G to report continuing operating profits of £2.2bn, up 8% on the prior year, a 7% hike to the dividend to 16.4p and a solvency ratio of 189%.

Paddy Power Betfair looks to avoid horse flu contagion

As one of the largest bookmakers, investors will be keeping an eye open for any impact on Paddy Power Betfair plc (LON:PPB) from the recent bout of equine flu which ground most of the horse racing industry briefly to a halt.

There may also be interest around the company’s outlook statement given the Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner.

Besides this, the newly opened US market will continue to drive interest as well as the state of online sports and gaming.

Up-and-down year for Just Eat

It has been a rollercoaster six months for online takeaway marketplace Just Eat PLC (LON:JE.), which is due to report its full-year results on Wednesday.

The company, which is to re-join the FTSE 100 later this month, has come under increasing attack from the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats, to which it responded by investing heavily into the delivery side of the business.

While it has moved to copy the competition, the competition has sought to recreate what it does, too: Uber Eats said at the end of February that it will allow restaurants to make their own deliveries.

In a trading update earlier this year, Just Eat lifted its guidance for 2018, so the market already knows that revenues will almost certainly come in at £780mln, while underlying earnings will be somewhere between £172-174mln.

That same announcement contained another twist though, with chief executive Peter Plumb confirming he is stepping down after less than two years at the helm. Chief customer officer Peter Duffy is filling his boots until a permanent successor is found.

Investors will want to find out more about the investment plans for this year, how the search for a new boss is progressing, and possible divestments, which analysts thinks could be in the works.

Significant announcements expected for Wednesday March 6:

Finals: Paddy Power Betfair plc (LON:PPB), Legal & General Group PLC (LON:LGEN), Just Eat PLC (LON:JE.), Aggreko PLC (LON:AGK), PageGroup PLC (LON:PAGE), Costain Group PLC (LON:COST), BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (LON:BVC), Headlam Group PLC (LON:HEAD), Anpario Plc (LON:ANP), Tritax Big Box REIT (LON:BBOX), FDM Group Holdings PLC (LON:FDM), Foresight Solar Fund Limited (LON:FSFL), Glenveagh Properties PLC (LON:GLV), VR Education Holdings Plc (LON:VRE), Vivo Energy PLC (LON:VVO), Secure Income REIT PLC (LON:SIR)

Interims: Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY)

Economic data: US ADP employment change; US factory orders; US balance of trade; Fed Beige Book

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