Market Outlook

The week ahead: UK GDP; Ocado, Disney, AstraZeneca results

In this week's video, Michael reviews the market rebound and latest currency moves, and looks ahead to UK Q4 GDP, plus the latest numbers from AstraZeneca, Disney, Dunelm and Ocado. He also looks at the key levels on the FTSE 100, DAX, S&P 500, EUR/USD, GBP/USD, EUR/GBP, USD/JPY and Gold.

Read our pick of the top stories to look out for this week (8-12 February), and view our key company earnings schedule.

Ocado full-year results

Tuesday: Continuing to confound its critics, the Ocado share price has made more gains this past 12 months, with the jury still out as to whether it can be viewed as a retailer, or a technology provider. The company’s £750m deal with Marks and Spencer to deliver an initial range of 4,400 food products, along with 700 from the M&S lifestyle range, started to pay dividends from the beginning of September last year. In Ocado’s most recent Q3 numbers, retail revenue grew 52% in the quarter, rising to £587.3m, with the average spend coming in at £141 and average orders per week rising to 345,000 from 315,000 in the same period a year ago. Q4 saw a rise of 35% in retail revenue, while management said they expected full-year EBITDA to come in well above its previous guidance of £40m, at £60m. 

Ocado should also complete its deal to acquire Kindred Systems and Haddington Dynamics, both companies that specialise in robotics manufacturing These two deals cost a combined $287m, as Ocado looks to streamline the picking functions in its automated fulfilment centres in order to improve efficiency across the business. With a market cap now up at an eye-wateringly high £20bn, Ocado is bigger than Sainsbury’s and Morrisons combined, and only just behind Tesco in terms of size. It therefore needs to continue to grow if only to justify a valuation that bears little relation to the underlying fundamentals, with revenue expected to come in at £2.3bn on an annualised basis. In comparison Tesco turned over £64.7bn in its most recent set of full-year accounts.

Twitter Q4 results

Tuesday: Twitter has always been social media’s poor relation when it comes to monetising its user base. In Q3 it did appear it was making progress on this front, when the micro-blogging platform revealed revenue of $936m, an increase of 14% on the same period a year before, with 187m daily users, a 29% increase year-on-year. Compared to Q2 however, it was only marginally higher, and Q4 could see this number slip back in light of recent events. In the aftermath of the storming of Capitol Hill in January, and President Trump’s subsequent ban, Twitter embarked on a purge of thousands of accounts, while others may have decided to leave of their own accord. Companies also decided to pull their advertising spend in the aftermath of the violence, which could impact Twitter’s Q4 numbers. The next few months are likely to be crucial in the lifecycle of social media companies, and Facebook and Twitter in particular. Profits are expected to come in at $0.30 a share, which seems optimistic given that they came in lower than that in Q3 at $0.19 a share.

Coca-Cola Q4 results

Wednesday: In Q3, Coca-Cola managed to beat expectations for its latest set of numbers, however it's clear that the pandemic is acting as a drag on its business. Q3 net sales fell 9% to $8.65bn, though demand for Coke Zero sugar and Coca-Cola managed to hold up quite well. Coffee and tea were hardest hit, which isn’t surprising given the various closures forced on to its newly-acquired Costa Coffee brand. Traffic levels at the coffee chain are unlikely to improve much before April, assuming lockdown restrictions start to get eased. The company is in the process of slimming down its drinks portfolio by about 50%, with the focus on its more mainstream brands like Dasani and Coca-Cola, as well as fruit.

Dunelm half-year results

Wednesday: Dunelm has managed to ride out the Covid-19 pandemic fairly well, despite the various store closures it has had to contend with. In its last full-year, the company's Q4 numbers were hit hard by the first lockdown, and total sales fell by 28.6%. Online sales helped to compensate to some extent, with a rise of 105.6% on the year. This helped stem the decline in full-year sales to a mere 3.9% which given the store closures was a fairly decent result. The first quarter of this year got off to a flyer as well, with Q1 sales rising 36.7% to £359.1m, driven by a strong digital sales performance. However given the uncertainties around the pandemic, management withheld offering guidance, perhaps wisely given the various lockdowns since November. This meant that stores were only able to offer click-and-collect and online delivery services, and while the stores have remained closed, total sales in Q2 still rose 11.8%. The company’s’ resilience has meant that management took the decision to repay the £14.5m job retention scheme monies claimed in the previous financial year. This week’s first-half update is expected to see total sales surge by 23% to £719.4m, while profit-before-tax is expected to rise to £112m, well above the same period last year, which was £83.6m. This figure includes the repayment of the furlough money, reinforcing the success the business has had in being able to adapt to the challenges that have come its way.

Uber Q4 results

Wednesday: Even without the pandemic, Uber had already been haemorrhaging cash before the economic lockdowns hit its cashflow even harder. The ride-hailing part of the business makes up the lion’s share of overall revenue, while its Eats delivery business is the small relation. In Q2 the company posted a net loss of $1.8bn, as taxi bookings declined 73%, while delivery bookings rose 113%. In Q3 these losses shrank but were still over $1bn, while revenue also came in short at $3.13bn. The company reiterated its guidance that it expects to be profitable on an EBITDA basis by the end of 2021, however given recent events it may well have to rethink that guidance.

Its delivery business continues to go from strength to strength, with a 190% rise in revenue year-on-year, and the acquisition of Postmates for $2.65bn means further uplift is likely. Despite Uber’s problems, the Uber share price has recovered well since the near-$14 lows in 2020, and is now trading back above $50, and the IPO price. This seems rather counterintuitive when you consider the company appears no nearer to turning a profit than when it came out of the blocks in May 2019, however it did raise over $500m in equity last year for its freight operation, suggesting that some investors in certain parts of Uber’s business have deeper pockets than others. Losses are expected to come in at $0.54 a share.

AstraZeneca full-year results

Thursday: Big pharma has had a much higher profile over the last year than would normally be the case, due to the global pandemic. Over the past few years this sector has undergone a significant amount of rationalisation as it faces the challenges of a lack of innovation, expiring drug patents, and increasing regulation. AstraZeneca has been at the forefront of this, acquiring Alexion at the end of last year for $39bn, as it looks to build up its presence in the field of immunology. AstraZeneca has also been at the forefront of the battle to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. Its joint venture with Oxford University has a slightly lower efficacy rate than its peers, and unlike Pfizer's and Moderna's isn’t a messenger RNA vaccine.

The slow pace of the vaccine’s rollout has caused quite a storm in Europe, after AstraZeneca said it needed to streamline its European operations, thus delaying the rollout, citing the slower ratification process by the EU in approving the dose. The vaccine is being produced at cost which means there is not much in the way of upside for AstraZeneca, apart from goodwill, and even that is in short supply due EU politicians trying to shift the blame for their own failures on to the company. In Q3, year-to-date total revenue was up 8% to $19.2bn, with product sales up by 9%, driven by strong performance across three therapy areas, with oncology leading the way. R&D expenses rose 8% year-on-year to $4.2bn. Full-year revenue is expected to come in at $26.4bn, an 8.4% rise on last year.

Disney Q1 results

Thursday: When Disney was gearing up for the launch of Disney+ at the end of 2019, it must have had high hopes of eating into the market share of the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime in the online streaming market. Undercutting on price may seem like a no-brainer, and while we’ve seen a big uptake on the subscriptions front, with over 86.8m in the first year when the company reported in December, Disney still has some way to go to compete with Netflix in terms of content depth. The service is also operating at a loss, which means it’s had to bite the bullet and will be increasing prices, with a basic UK subscription rising to £7.99 a month in March. That still means it’s cheaper than the likes of Netflix which has also increased its prices; however, it’s content while still good, remains well short of the diversity in Netflix’s library. 

Additional content is also extra as well, with the decision to charge up to $30 to view its Mulan film a little presumptuous, and falling flat. This is where Amazon Prime also falls down a little, however at least with Prime you get other perks to compensate for your monthly fee. Asking for a monthly fee and then adding additional costs on top of that smacks of taking liberties in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market place. Of course, Disney also has the added drag in terms of losses at its film studios, theme parks and resorts, as a result of the pandemic. The company has already shed up to 32,000 jobs in this area alone, while also ending the temporary executive pay freezes in a move that in terms of optics looks awful and lacks empathy. In its last set of numbers the 'Mouse House' lost $710m, while revenue slumped to $14.7bn. Losses for this quarter are expected to come in higher for Q1, at $0.30 a share.

Ted Baker Q4 results

Thursday: When the clothing retailer announced last June that it was looking to raise over £100m at a discounted price of 75p, the Ted Baker share price tumbled, as the new management looked to rescue a business that has seen its fortunes implode spectacularly in recent years. In March 2018, the shares were up at over £30 each, however a raft of profit warnings, the departure of founder Ray Kelvin in controversial circumstances, and various stock accounting errors, has seen the shares fall sharply.

During last year the company sold and leased back its head office in London for £78.75m, with £72m of that cash used to pay down its debts. Ted Baker has an uphill struggle in the current retail environment, a fact that was borne out in its most recent Q3 numbers, which showed revenue slide almost 46% to £169.5m, while losses came in at £86.4m. Total retail sales including e-commerce slid 42.2%, which looks grim until you realise that on their own, e-commerce channels rose 41.8%. On the plus side, its store footprint is much narrower than a lot of its peers, and the business-rates holiday will also help on the margins, while its collaboration with Next has expanded beyond childrenswear, to include lingerie and nightwear from May 2021. Despite the losses, Ted Baker CEO Rachel Osborne has insisted that free cash flow will be positive this year in spite of all the restructuring efforts and Covid-19 headwinds. This week we’ll find out if that optimism is justified.

UK Q4 GDP 

Friday: After a fairly decent Q3 and an expansion of 16%, the UK economy has had a much more troubled Q4. The likelihood of a double-dip recession has increased, after two successive negative quarters in the first half of 2020, and restrictions unlikely to be lifted much before Q2 this year. The economy started to slow again in October, as Covid-19 cases began to rise and a new variant spread across the country. With new lockdowns starting at the beginning of November and restrictions tightened throughout December, it’s probable that Q4 will have contracted modestly, even though some estimates point to a 0.5% expansion, and the first quarter of this year is likely to be much worse. There may be a big jump in imports as retailers and businesses stockpiled goods ahead of the Christmas period and the end of the Brexit transition period, which might give the numbers a bit of a boost. Private consumption and government spending was just about the only thing keeping the economy going in Q3 though, and the same can be expected in Q4.

UK industrial and manufacturing production (December) 

Friday: If recent purchasing manager indices (PMIs) are any guide, then the manufacturing sector could be the standout candidate in terms of Q4 performance. Since the end of the first lockdown the manufacturing sector has expanded every single month, for the most part by a fairly decent amount, with a 0.7% gain in November. December is likely to be similarly positive, given that economic activity increased quite markedly ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.  

Index dividend schedule

Dividend payments from an index's constituent shares can affect your trading account. See this week's index dividend schedule

Selected UK & US company announcements

Monday 8 February Results
AECOM (US) Q1
Energizer (US) Q1
ESCO Technologies (US) Q1
Hasbro (US) Q4
Inland Homes (UK) Full-year
Tuesday 9 February Results
Bellway (UK) Half-year
Cisco (US) Q1
Fox (US) Q2
Gartner (US) Q4
Lyft (US) Q4
Mattel (US) Q4
Ocado (UK) Full-year
Twitter (US) Q4
Yelp (US) Q4
Wednesday 10 February Results
Coca-Cola (US) Q4
Dunelm (UK) Half-year
General Motors (US) Q4
MasterCraft (US) Q2
MGM Resorts (US) Q4
Redrow (UK) Half-year
Sonos (US) Q1
Uber (US) Q4
Under Armour (US) Q4
Western Union (US) Q4
Thursday 11 February Results
AstraZeneca (UK) Full-year
Expedia (US) Q4
GoDaddy (US) Q4
Kellogg (US) Q4
Kraft Heinz (US) Q4
Molson Coors (US) Q4
PepsiCo (US) Q4
Shutterstock (US) Q4
Ted Baker (UK) Q4
VeriSign (US) Q4
Walt Disney (US) Q1
Friday 12 February Results
Altra Industrial Motion (US) Q4
ImmunoGen (US) Q4
Lincoln Electric (US) Q4
WP Carey (US) Q4

Company announcements are subject to change. All the events listed above were correct at the time of writing.


Sign up for market update emails