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easyJet, Wizz Air, Diageo feature in Thursday’s busy diary

It promises to be a busy end to January, with EasyJet, Wizz Air, Diageo, TalkTalk, and Tate & Lyle among those in the diary.

easyJet plc - easyJet, Wizz Air, Diageo feature in Thursday’s busy diary

Budget carrier EasyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) will update the market on Thursday, although as with most of the airline industry investors are unlikely to see a rosy picture.

The airline like most has been at the sharp end of the pandemic and border closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has left its planes grounded at airports across Europe.

Analysts at UBS are expecting traffic levels in the first quarter of 2021 to be at just 12.5% of levels seen a year ago, while revenues for the period are forecast to plunge to £157mln from £1.42bn.

The Swiss bank's analysts said they expected easyJet’s outlook for the current quarter to be “extremely cautious (as evidenced by all holidays cancelled until the end of March) with intra EU travel restrictions remaining at all-time highs”.

Wizz Air to land quarterly loss

Peer Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) is also scheduled to land its quarterly results on Thursday, with the analysts at UBS expecting to see a 78% slump in traffic.

The bank forecasts revenue of €129mln, down from €637mln and below consensus of €171mln, while the budget carrier is estimated to swing to an underlying loss of €137mln from a profit of €35mln a year ago.

It continues to be a tough time for airlines, in fact, Wizz Air said earlier in January there was little visibility for the coming months but hoped demand should pick up in the summer.

In December, Wizz only flew 35% of 2019's capacity, which was expected to fall to 25% this month.

Diageo hopes profits keep flowing

Diageo PLC (LON:DGE), the owner of Gordon’s Gin, Guinness and Smirnoff vodka, will deliver its half-year results on Thursday in what is expected to show a strong six months for the group.

In an update in late September, the company said its outlook for the first half had improved after a good start, especially in the US, so investors will be hoping this strong showing has continued over the rest of the period.

However, the company may have seen its trade sales impacted by renewed lockdown measures across the world, which have forced pubs and bars to close their doors, so it is likely to have relied on retail sales of its products to keep the business going.

In the September update, Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said the company was continuing to expect “sequential improvement in organic net sales and operating profit compared to the second half of fiscal 20”, so investors will be eyeing any changes to this outlook statement into 2021.

TalkTalk countdown to going private

Talktalk Telecom Group PLC (LON:TALK) will not be silent on Thursday when it releases a quarterly trading update coming a month after agreeing a £1.1bn takeover offer by Tosca IOM.

It may well be one of its last updates before it goes private, when shareholders will receive 97p per share in cash, which is a 16.4% premium to the closing price of 83.3p on October 7, 2020, when the offer period started.

That big news was followed by chief financial officer Kate Ferry announcing her departure so she can live and work in London, while the business remains North-West based.

She will be replaced by Phil Eayres, who has been with the company for six years, more recently as an independent strategic advisor leading the development and disposal of FibreNation, and who was “instrumental” in completing the takeover deal.

In the six months to September 30, 2020, Talktalk's revenue dipped by 7% to £740mln and 2019’s £15mln profit before tax turned into a £3mln loss.

The internet provider saw 187,000 fibre net adds but did not provide guidance for the rest of the year due to COVID-19 uncertainty.

Tate & Lyle on the menu

Investors are hoping to see sweet numbers from Tate & Lyle PLC’s (LON:TATE) trading update on Thursday, which comes a week after the ingredients producer appointed Vivid Sehgal as its new chief financial officer.

Sehgal previously held the same role at Delphi Technologies and will start in March to replace Imran Nawaz, who is leaving in May to take up the same position at grocer Tesco (LON:TSCO).

The sweetener producer posted a defensive performance in the six months to September 30, 2020, with revenue down 4% to £1.3bn and profit before tax up 3% to £180mln, which topped expectations.

It didn’t issue any guidance so the market is looking forward to seeing how it performed in the Christmas period, which may have been lifted by the increase in at-home consumer spending.

Thursday January 28

Trading announcements: easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ), Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ), Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL), Britvic PLC (LON:BVIC), 3I Group PLC (LON:III), Talktalk Telecom Group PLC (LON:TALK), Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC (LON:ERM), Intermediate Capital Group PLC (LON:ICP), KAZ Minerals PLC (LON:KAZ), St James’s Place PLC (LON:STJ), Tate & Lyle PLC (LON:TATE)

Finals: Oxford Biodynamics PLC (LON:OBD)

Interims: Diageo PLC (LON:DGE), Joules Group PLC (LON:JOUL), Rank Group PLC (LON:RNK), Hansard Global PLC (LON:HSD)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 0.11 points off the index: Pennon Group PLC (LON:PNN)

Economic data: US GDP, US jobless claims

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