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Ocado interims to put some flesh on the bones after lockdown surge

News about fellow FTSE 100 group Halma's dividend will be top of the agenda with its results on Tuesday

Ocado Group PLC -

Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) has been one of the big winners from the coronavirus lockdown and on Tuesday we will hear the first financial details from the company since early May.

Half-year results from online grocer, whose shares have surged 59% since the UK went into lockdown, will include some likely positive numbers for its joint venture with Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS), with industry data in recent months indicating strong growth.

Ocado Retail, the UK-only JV, saw sales jump by 42% in the four weeks to June 14 as shoppers ordered online more during the lockdown, following 32.5% growth in the previous month's update.

Investors will be expecting the interim numbers to also update on progress with the group's Solutions arm, which provides its technology and expertise for other supermarket groups and is the basis for most of the FTSE 100 group's £15bn market valuation.

Ocado recently drummed up £1bn of new cash raised in an equity placing and convertible loan note last month, which some analysts thought was a bit of a cheek as the company still has a ton of cash in the bank, but not surprising given its longstanding propensity for fundraising top-ups.

Shareholders will also want management to provide their outlook for the rest of the year, particularly as the relaxation of lockdown measures means people are less likely to be ordering as much shopping as restaurants and shops reopen again.

Halma eyed for dividend news

Hazard detection specialist Halma Plc (LON:HLMA) will report its full-year results on Tuesday as the only FTSE 100 firm yet to say anything about the status of its dividend.

Analysts are predicting the group will pay out around 16.7p per share, a 6% increase on the prior year and the company’s forty-first consecutive rise of over 5%.

While the coronavirus has hit many companies, Halma’s products are often a required investment for many meaning its business flows and customer base is likely to remain relatively stable despite the pandemic, which in turn can give it leverage over pricing and help juice margins, boost cash flow and keep its dividend going.

In an update in April the company said it expects its adjusted pre-tax profit for the year ended March 31 2020 to be in a range of £265mln to £270mln with revenues of around £1.33bn and year-end net debt of about £320mln.

In macro data, the Office for National Statistics will provide a first monthly estimate for UK gross domestic product for May, as well as stats on trade and the impact of coronavirus on output in the UK economy.

Significant news expected on Tuesday 14 July:

Trading announcementsAshmore Group PLC (LON:ASHM), Mcbride PLC (LON:MCB), Newriver REIT PLC (LON:NRR)

FinalsAO World PLC (LON:AO.), Halma PLC (LON:HLMA), Mercia Asset Management PLC (LON:MERC), Motorpoint Group PLC (LON:MOTR)

Interims: Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO), Synectics PLC (LON:SNX)

Economic data: UK GDP, UK production, US inflation

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