Belfast Telegraph

Interest rising in sales results due for consumer giant Reckitt

Tomorrow, the focus will be on consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser.

Analysts at Credit Suisse argue the interest in the group has been too focused on its pharmaceuticals and drugs arm rather than the rest of its consumer goods divisions.

Ahead of its 2013 results, they raised their rating to outperform, while Panmure Gordon expects sales to be up 5% on a comparable basis "driven by strong growth in its health and hygiene brands" which account for around 70% of sales. The shares have also been in favour recently on the back of M&A rumours as traders hoped it may bid for US-based Merck's consumer care division and sell off its drugs arm.

But Liberum Capital expects it to miss consensus estimates and has rated it a sell.

First-half figures from pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond are due midweek. The group abandoned plans to sell itself recently and the share price is down 90% on a year ago.

On Thursday Lloyds Banking Group issues its 2013 results. After a fourth-quarter £1.8bn PPI charge it will report a fourth consecutive year of negative earnings. Investec's banks expert Ian Gordon said Lloyds is now his "fourth-favourite UK bank". It forecasts pre-tax profit of £6.2bn.

Also on Thursday is Primark-to-sugar business Associated British Foods' trading update. Worries about sugar pricing have weighed on the group. Although Primark's sales are still booming, this might not make up for the problems elsewhere.

Belfast Telegraph