The week ahead – Inflation, Rolls-Royce and Acacia Mining

On Tuesday 14 February we will see if the weak pound continues to stoke UK inflation, as well as annual results from Rolls-Royce and gold miner Acacia. Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, looks at some of the key points to keep an eye out for in those announcements.
13 February 2017

1.    Tuesday 14 February 2017: UK inflation figures

  • Inflation has been creeping higher, stoked by a lower pound and higher oil and fuel prices. Dunelm is the latest firm to talk about prices increases being necessary, following on from Next, Unilever and others.

  • NIESR expects inflation to reach 4% at some stage in 2017, although the OBR and Bank of England are less aggressive, seeing the peak just under 3%.

  • As always, it will be worth looking beyond the headline CPI and RPI numbers and look at producer prices (input and output) as these may give an indication of what is coming down the food chain.

  • In December

          - Headline CPI inflation was 1.6% (“core” CPI was 1.6%)

          - RPI inflation was 2.5%

          - PPI inflation (input – raw materials) was 15.8%

          - PPI (output – finished goods) was 2.7%

2.    Tuesday 14 February: Full-year results from Rolls-Royce

Beset by a series of profit warnings, corruption investigations in the US UK and Brazil and a change in accounting standards which will hit stated profits from 2018, known as IFRS 15, Rolls-Royce shares have plunged from nearly £13 to barely £7 over the last three years.

Chief executive Warren East has been grappling with all of this since he took the reins from John Rishton in July 2015 and last November’s analyst meeting offered some grounds for encouragement that he was making progress with a multi-year turnaround programme, cutting costs, changing the culture of the company and setting a long-term vision for the business.

When it comes to the 2016 numbers, watch for:

  • Operating profit, which the company has forecast will roughly halve from £1.4 billion in 2015

  • Attainment of the £150-200 million cost-cutting target

  • Net debt, which ended the first half at £712 million though the firm now has fines to pay of £497 million to the Financial Conduct Authority and $169 million to the US Department of Justice.

In case East offers any forecasts for 2017 the consensus forecast is for pre-tax profit of around £850 million against £670 million for 2016. Analysts seem to think the dividend per share will bottom around 11.5p a share after a second cut in 2016.

3.    Tuesday 14 February: Full-year results from Acacia Mining

  • The gold price is trading near three-month highs at $1,235 an ounce as markets become concerned the Trump reflation and growth trade may not quite pan out as intended.

  • Attention now turns to FTSE 250 gold miner Acacia (formerly known as African Barrick Gold) although its putative merger discussions with Toronto-listed Endeavour may overshadow its 2016 results.

  • Acacia has already published production figures (829,705 ounces of gold) so watch out for production guidance for 2017 and also cost guidance – cash costs in  2016 were $640 an ounce and all-in sustaining costs (AISC) were $958, both well below 2015 levels.

  • Also watch the dividend which was unchanged in 2015 at 4.2 US cents per share (the first-half payment was increased 43% to 2.0 cents). Peers Centamin and Randgold Resources have both already hiked their dividend by more than expected.


Monday 13 February

  • Full-year results from Dettol to Durex firm Reckitt Benckiser

Tuesday 14 February

  • Full-year results from FTSE 250 specialist equipment maker Spectris

  • German ZEW economic confidence survey

  • US NFIB smaller companies confidence survey

  • US NAHB housebuilding activity index

  • US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen delivers semi-annual monetary policy report to US Senate Banking Committee

  • In Europe, quarterly results from French tyre maker Michelin

Wednesday 15 February

  • UK unemployment, employment and wage growth data

  • US inflation figures

  • US retail sales and industrial production figures

  • US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen delivers testifies to House of Representatives Financial Services Committee

  • US oil inventory data

  • In Europe, quarterly results from ABN Amro, Akzo Nobel and Heineken

  • In the US, quarterly results from PepsiCo, Cisco and graphics chip maker NVIDIA

Thursday 16 February

  • Full-year results from FTSE 100 firms Shire and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling

  • US housing starts and building permits data

  • US Philadelphia Fed industrial confidence survey

  • In Europe, quarterly results from Air France-KLM and Schneider Electric

  • In the USA, quarterly results from and Applied Materials

Friday 17 February

  • Full-year results from Millennium & Copthorne Hotels

  • UK monthly retail sales data

  • In the USA, quarterly results from Campbell Soup and John Deere

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