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Wednesday preview: UK labour market data, results from Experian, Barratt, TalkTalk

By Oliver Haill

Date: Tuesday 14 Nov 2017

(ShareCast News) - Wednesday's unemployment and wage data will be examined after trading updates and results from the likes of Barrett Developments, Experian, Great Portland and TalkTalk.
After he was one of the Bank of England monetary policy committee members to have voted for a rate rise earlier this month, deputy governor Ben Broadbent speaks in London at 1300 GMT.

This will come after the Office of National Statistics dumps a pile of labour market data in the public arena.

Most economists and analysts expect the September labour market picture to look similar to August, with the unemployment rate remaining at a below equilibrium rate and little sign of rising pay growth.

The consensus view is that the unemployment rate will hold steady at 4.3% though many feel the balance of risks is skewed towards a further fall to 4.2%.

Average weekly wages are seen growth 2.1%, or 2.2% if excluding bonuses.

The evolution of labour market data remains key to the outlook for interest rates, Morgan Stanley said in its preview of the data.

"A slightly lower unemployment rate and higher pay growth would be consistent with more tightening. A slightly higher unemployment rate and relatively flat pay growth would be consistent with them remaining on hold.

"We expect higher pay growth ahead and little change in the unemployment rate over the next quarter or two. That, we think, will lead the MPC to raise rates again in May 2018."

Analysts at the bank think unemployment is likely to hold steady and month-on-month regular pay growth to rise, but headline earnings ex bonuses to remain unchanged at 2.1% and total pay declining to 1.9% from 2.2%.

"We see the balance of risks to both forecasts as on the upside given the apparent tightness of the labour market (and above target inflation). We continue to expect pay growth to pick up gradually in coming quarters, but with momentum contained by firms' caution as Brexit approaches and by a rise in non-wage labour costs, including a scheduled 1pp rise in minimum employer pension contributions in April 2018."

COMPANY RESULTS

Experian is expected to have enjoyed some short term gains from the massive data breach from US rival Equifax.

Deutsche Bank modelled 4% organic growth for the second quarter after 4% in the first, with first half EBITA of $593m and margin down 40 basis points on investment into consumer services - "though this may be skewed by Equifax effects".

"There are some areas of strength in the portfolio like Experian Health and likely an improving Brazil, however, we believe the fundamentals in the US, UK and Consumer Services are weakening," DB said.

Half-year results are also due from TalkTalk, which has set out its clear priorities for the near term, with customer growth a near-term focus, even if this comes at the expense of profitability.

Barclays said it therefore expects the positive subscriber momentum seen in the first quarter to continue and sees average revenue per user declines moderating.

It forecast second quarter revenues down 3.6% and EBITDA of £95m, with management indicating a likely one-third 1H and two-thirds 2H split of profitability as it invests heavily in the first half of the year.

Housebuilder Barratt will give a first-quarter update on the back of mostly positive recent reports from its rivals.

UBS analysts expect to see sales rates to be slightly down since Barratt reported full year results in September.

Last year's sales rates of 0.74 in the half to November was up 6% and UBS expect it to have come down around 5%, similar to other peers.

Elsewhere in the sector Crest Nicholson will issue a trading update for the full year to October.

UBS expect volume growth of 2% to 2,934 units and average selling price growth of 8% to £352,000, resulting in revenue growth 10% to £1.1bn in line with guidance.

As for PBT, the bank expects £214m, with an operating margin of 20%, and EPS of 68p.

Cobham will report a third quarter statement, which is likely to be qualitative rather than quantitative.



Wednesday November 15

INTERIMS
Experian, Great Portland Estates, Helical, Premier Foods, TalkTalk Telecom Group

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Anglo Pacific Group, Bristol & West 'A', Burford Capital , Curtis Banks Group, Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited (DI)

QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE
Marsh & Mclennan Cos Inc.

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Balance of Trade (EU) (10:00)
Business Inventories (US) (14:00)
Consumer Price Index (US) (13:30)
Crude Oil Inventories (US) (15:30)
GDP (Preliminary) (EU) (10:00)
Retail Sales (US) (13:30)

FINALS
AB Dynamics, Avon Rubber, Fenner, Game Digital, Zambeef Products

SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
JPMorgan Mid Cap Inv Trust

EGMS
Ethernity Networks Ltd, Toro Limited

AGMS
Barratt Developments, Celtic, Hays, Henderson EuroTrust, Jupiter UK Growth Investment Trust, Pacific Horizon Inv Trust

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Barratt Developments, Blue Prism Group, Crest Nicholson Holdings

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Claimant Count Rate (09:30)

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
JPMorgan Mid Cap Inv Trust, Strategic Equity Capital

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