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Blue chip updates from Ashtead and Ferguson unlikely to detract from England World Cup post-mortem

Aside from Ashtead and Ferguson, the Day Ahead includes updates from mid cap high street retailer Footasylum and Bonmarche, plus fixed lines provider Telecom Plus
Equipment hire
Equipment hire firm Ashtead and plumbing supplies firm Ferguson are both very much focused on operations across the Atlantic

With more attention likely to be on the post-mortem of the first England game in the 2018 FIFA World Cup – whatever the result – Tuesday’s batch of corporate news is unlikely to shift the dial too far.

The blue chip interest will come with updates from equipment hire firm Ashtead Group PLC (LON:AHT) and plumbing supplies firm Ferguson Plc (LON:FERG), both very much focused on operations across the Atlantic.

In a trading update back in April, Ashtead said it was continuing to perform well, with full-year results expected to be in-line with expectations.

Analysts at UBS are expecting the FTSE 100-listed group to report further strong underlying trading in the fourth quarter, with a forecast of 20.5% volume growth, and a weak pound potentially driving upgrades to consensus estimates.

The bank also predicts Ashtead reporting full-year revenues of £3.6bn, with pre-tax profits seen at around £931mln.

Better US growth to drive Ferguson

Meanwhile Ferguson - which changed its name from Wolseley last year to reflect the bigger prominence of its US operations – should post solid third-quarter trading news

UBS raised its full-year estimates and price target for the Plumb Center owner in a recent preview to reflect a 6% appreciation in the dollar since its last update in March.

The Swiss bank expects the FTSE 100-listed firm - to report third-quarter organic growth of +7%, driven by organic growth in the US of +9%.

As a result, UBS said, it expects sales of US$5.023bn, underlying earnings (EBITA) of US$337mln, and margins of 6.7%.

High street in fashion

Away from the blue chips, the focus will on the high street, with fashion retailers Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT) and Bonmarche Holdings PLC (LON:BON) both due to report final results on Tuesday, although their situations look to be different.

Footasylum, which sells own and third-party brand trainers, hoodies and athleisurewear, said back in January revenues in the three months to the end of December 2017 jumped by more than a third to £89.8mln, up from £67.3mln, with trading in line with expectations.

City broker Liberum Capital kicked off its research coverage for Footasylum – which floated in November 2017 - with an effusive ‘buy’ recommendation.

Meanwhile, Bonmarche suffered an 11.1% decline in like-for-like sales for the three months to March, as the UK value womenswear retailer was hit hard by the ‘Beast from the East”.

Although online sales rose 31%, chief executive Helen Connolly described the backdrop as challenging and said more self-help measures were planned for this year.

Price cap awaited for Telecom Plus

Elsewhere, recent trading for FTSE 250-listed fixed line provider Telecoms Plus PLC (LON:TEP) has been somewhat dull with customer and services numbers only showing modest growth.

The company confirmed in its year-end trading update in April that Tuesday’s full-year profits will be in line with forecasts at around £54mln and that the dividend will increase by 4.2%.

The key event ahead, however, is the imposition of a price cap, which is likely to arrive in the autumn.

Analysts at Peel Hunt believe this could materially improve Telecom Plus’ competitive position and accelerate the speed of customer and service growth and reduce churn, albeit that it will be slightly negative on profits in the short term. 

Significant events expected on Tuesday June 19:

Trading updates: Ferguson PLC (Q3) (LON:FERG)

Finals: Ashtead Group PLC (Q4) (LON:AHT), Accsys Technologies PLC (LON:AXS), Bonmarche Holdings PLC (LON:BON), Castleton Technology PLC (LON:CTP), Flybe Group PLC (LON:FLYB), Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT), Gresham House Strategic PLC (LON:GHS), Telecom Plus (LON:TEP)

Interims: Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK)

Economic data: US housing starts


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