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Tuesday preview: M&S and Vodafone report

Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Vodafone are expected to make waves Tuesday when they release their full-year results.

Analysts forecast M&S will report its lowest annual profit in four years, as the retailer’s struggling general merchandise division continues to offset a rise in food sales.

The firm’s clothing business has posted seven consecutive quarters of underlying sales declines, prompting an overhaul of the division to draw in more customers.

M&S is anticipated to post a pre-tax profit of £640 to £670m with a consensus of £658m, according to a company poll reported by Reuters. The group made a £706m profit the year earlier.

However, Panmure Gordon, which forecasts a pre-tax profit of £666m, reiterated a ‘buy’ rating saying the company’s new clothing range may facilitate growth down the road.

‘[…] We think that the market should be careful not to underestimate the positive effect that a well-received womenswear collection could have on the company’s financial performance,’ the broker said.

Chief Executive, Marc Bolland, recently unveiled the company’s new strategy to boost its fashion department along with a new autumn/winter collection which was well-received by analysts.

Meanwhile, Vodafone is expected to reveal annual results that show the impact of the continuing Eurozone crisis and European regulation on its core business.

Vodafone will report a drop in sales in the wake of heightened competition, analysts predict.

They have also projected that the company will show its growing reliance on Verizon Wireless for profits. Last week, Vodafone announced that will receive more than £2.0bn from its stake in the US join venture with Verizon.

Verizon Wireless, which has been at the centre of takeover rumours by Verizon for months, is paying a total of $7.0bn to shareholders at the end of June.

Vodafone, which owns 45% in VZW, will receive $3.2bn, while Verizon will pocket the rest.

Jefferies International, which recommended a ‘hold’ rating, said the announcement suggested an ‘upside to full-year expectations’.

‘We continue to see status quo as the most likely outcome for Verizon Wireless ownership given the on-going attraction of tax-free dividend income to Vodafone,’ the broker said.

‘However, we don’t believe Verizon’s ownership ambitions have receded. Indeed extracting dividends upfront would be tax efficient if a deal were forthcoming.’

Tuesday May 21th

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Producer Price Index (GER) (07:00)

Bankers Petroleum Ltd.(CDI)

Big Yellow Group, Bloomsbury Publishing, Burberry Group, Chamberlin, China Food Co, Intermediate Capital Group, JZ Capital Partners Ltd, Marks & Spencer Group, Telecom Plus, Vectura Group, Vertu Motors, Vodafone Group

IMSS Digital Entertainment

Standard Life

Alent, Cathay International Holdings Ltd., Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd., Concha, Escher Group Holdings, Glanbia, Hydrogen Group, Impax Environmental Markets, Instem, Invesco Perpetual UK Small Companies Inv Trust, JSC KazMunaiGaz Exploration Production GDR (Reg S), Kakuzi Ltd., Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust, Regus, Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’, St James’s Place

Consumer Price Index (09:30)
Producer Price Index (09:30)

Brady, Holders Technology, Kazakhmys, Rentokil Initial, Rotork, Standard Life, Taylor Wimpey

AFI Development, X5 Retail Group NV GDR (Reg S)


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