Week ahead: Sainsbury, Tesco

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Barring surprises markets´ focus next week is expected to veer towards central banks and the outlook for monetary policy in Europe. Neither the Bank of England (BoE) nor the European Central Bank (ECB) are expected to make a move this week. Until the budget negotiations Stateside are decisively concluded however then economic uncertainty is expected to continue to cast a pall over economic agents´ decision, albeit to a lesser extent than was feared before last week´s fiscal 'mini-pact,' so that the need for further easing cannot be dismissed. Neither can the risk of unwelcome surpises out of the Eurozone yet be fully dismissed.

Even so, in the last few days some economists have pushed their forecasts for rate increases by the BoE back by a year, to mid-2017 , and there still seems to be some scope for further policy stimulus. This week´s economic announcements pertaining to industrial production, international trade and retail sales will all likely influence current market positioning in this regard.

Investors are also watching to see whether the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC (KOSDAQ: 050540.KQ - news) ) will decide to replace those Gilts in its QE portfolio which are due to begin maturing in March.

Similarly, the odds still seem to be best of an eventual rate cut by the ECB as the prolonged continues to erode at the performance of the core economies. That at least seems to be the thinking whoch now prevails amongst analysts.



Meantime, and on the company front, much like most of its peers supermarket operator Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY.L - news) is facing difficult structural issues, partly as a result of its transition from larger stores towards the convenience store format and digital. So much so in fact that analysts at Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) : "remain negative on Sainsbury and believe that structural issues will weigh heavily on the company in 2013."

The reasons why should be evident in next Thursday´s trading statement. While the company had forecast like-for-like (LFL) sales growth of between 1.4-1.5%, Investec expects reported LFL sales to have grown by just 0.5%. In fact, after stripping out inflation, maturing space, the internet, extensions and convenience the broker thinks the mature, core estate (the bulk of the business) must be down over 4% LFL.

"(...) We expect the impact of compounded LFL volume declines for several years will lead to a re-basing of profits for large stores, with the internet and convenience not offering enough to compensate," the broker adds.

Investec isn´t that much more upbeat about Tesco (Other OTC: TSCDY - news) either, who will release its own trading update on the next day. Yes, "In sales terms, Tesco looks like it will be the relative winner in the UK," its analysts admit. Nonetheless, 1% or even 2% like-for-like (LFL) sales growth would still represent a significant volume decline for stores, after stripping out inflation (circa 3%), internet sales (circa 0.75% contribution to LFL) and maturing space (c.0.75%), they explain.

"We do not expect profit forecasts to move next week, but investors should be very careful. Tesco still faces major structural issues in the UK and the international business needs a major strategic review," it finishes by saying.

Monday January 07

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Morrisons

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Hill & Smith Holdings, London Stock Exchange Group, May Gurney Integrated Services

INTERNATIONAL ECOBNOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Producer prices (EU-19) (Nov)

GMS
Gemfields, Ideagen

SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
British Empire Securities & General Trust

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
British Empire Securities & General Trust, Origin Enterprises

FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Barloworld Ltd (Other OTC: BRRAY - news) .

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
New car registrations (UK) (Dec)

Tuesday January 08

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Dunelm, Persimmon (Other OTC: PSMMF - news) , Robert Walters (LSE: RWA.L - news) , Signet (LSE: SIG.L - news)

IMS
Domino´s Pizza Group, Debenhams (Other OTC: DBHSY - news)

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Management Consulting Group, Norcros (LSE: NXR.L - news) , TR Property Inv Trust, TR Property Inv Trust Sigma Shares

QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Verizon Communications

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Balance of Trade (GER) (07:00)
Business Climate Indicator (EU) (10:00)
Consumer Credit (US) (20:00)
Current Account (GER) (07:00)
Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU) (10:00)
Retail Price Index (GER) (07:00)
Retail Sales (EU 17) (10:00)
Unemployment (EU 17) (10:00)

GMS
Kingswalk Investments Ltd

IMSS
Domino's Pizza Group

EGMS
Kingswalk Investments Ltd

AGMS
Debenhams

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) , Persimmon, Robert Walters

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
BRC Retail Sales Monitor (00:01)

Wednesday January 09

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Restaurant Group (LSE: RTN.L - news) , Sainsbury (J), Ted Baker

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
3i Group, 3i Infrastructure, De La Rue (Other OTC: DELRF - news) , Games Workshop Group, Phoenix IT Group

INTERIM EX-DIVIDEND DATE
FirstGroup (LSE: FGP.L - news) , Pinewood Shepperton, Volex (LSE: VLX.L - news) , Workspace Group (LSE: WKP.L - news)

QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Assura Group Ltd (LSE: AGR.L - news) ., British Land Co

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Industrial production (Germany) (11:00)

GMS
Beacon Hill Resources, EG Solutions

SPECIAL EX-DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
European Investment Trust, Octopus Titan VCT 1, Octopus Titan VCT 2, Octopus Titan VCT 3

AGMS
Baring Emerging Europe

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Renewable Energy Generation Ltd., Ultimate Finance Group

FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust, European Investment Trust, Majedie Investments, Next Fifteen Communications, Paragon Group Of Companies, Smiths News (LSE: NWS.L - news) , Spirit Pub Company, Unicorn AIM VCT

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
BRC Shop Price Index (00:01)
Trade in Good and Services (09:30)

Thursday January 10

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, Goals Soccer Centres, Hays (LSE: HAS.L - news) , Hilton Food Group, Rathbone Brothers (LSE: RAT.L - news) , SIG (LSE: SHI.L - news) , Tesco

IMS
Hilton Food Group, JD Sports, XP Power (LSE: XPP.L - news)

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Caledonia Investments, Creston (LSE: CRE.L - news) , Mckay Securities (LSE: MCKS.L - news) , Morgan Crucible Co, Whitbread (LSE: WTB.L - news)

QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE
Land Securities Group, XP Power Ltd. (DI (KSE: 003160.KS - news) )

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
ECB Interest Rate (EU) (12:45)
Weekly initial unemployment claims (US) (13:30)
Wholesale inventories (US) (15:00)

Q4
Sandvine Corp.

GMS
Capital & Regional (LSE: CAL.L - news)

FINALS
Sandvine Corp.

IMSS
Marks & Spencer Group

EGMS
Bridge Energy Asa, NetDimensions Holding Ltd. (DI)

AGMS
Baronsmead VCT, Baronsmead VCT 2, Cardiff Property (LSE: CDFF.L - news)

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
MPC policy decision

Friday January 11

FINALS
Avesco, Aukett Fitzroy Robinson Group

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW.L - news) , Centaur Media (LSE: CAU.L - news)

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Atkins (WS), Babcock International Group, Cable & Wireless Communications (LSE: CWC.L - news) , Caffyns (LSE: CFYN.L - news) , Cropper (James), Electrocomponents (LSE: ECM.L - news) , First Property Group, Marks & Spencer Group, Montanaro European Smaller Companies Trust, Northern 2 VCT, Northern 3 VCT, Northgate (LSE: NTG.L - news) , Severn Trent (NasdaqCM: STRN - news) , Shanks Group (LSE: SKS.L - news) , Telford Homes, Worldwide Healthcare Trust

QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE
Schlumberger Ltd.

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Import and Export Price Indexes (US) (13:30)
International Trade Statistics (US) (13:30)
Budget Statement (US) (19:00)

Q3
JSC Acron GDR (Reg S)

GMS
Supercart

IMSS
Clarke (T.)

EGMS
Alternative Energy Ltd. (DI)

AGMS
Bellway (LSE: BWY.L - news) , Fenner Group

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF.L - news) , Debenhams, Netcall, Waterman Group (LSE: WTM.L - news)

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Industrial Production (09:30)
Manufacturing Production (09:30)
NIESR GDP estimate (15:00)
Construction output (09:30)