Unilever and DMGT set to be in Thursday’s spotlight


Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR) reports second-quarter results on Thursday with its shares still slightly lower than where they finished 2019 and still 16% below the all-time high seen in September that year.

In the past year and a half, the consumer goods company has benefitted from its strong homecare products range as people got more fastidious with their household cleaning and handwashing during the pandemic.

The stock was one of the most bought at all three of the UK’s largest investment platforms, with investors keen to hear the Anglo-Dutch giant’s decision on how to spin off its tea business later this year, whether by IPO, a demerger, a joint venture or disposal.

In recent weeks, with inflation on the rise, JP Morgan said Unilever is one of the companies most exposed to rising prices among the consumer goods sectors.

Commodity inflation has been strong this year overall, however, as the global economy has recovered and though JP Morgan sees some levelling off, it is still predicting raw material (RM) cost inflation to be at “highly elevated” levels this year and next.

Unilever reported better-than-expected underlying sales growth of 5.7% in the first quarter – it’s best since 2015 – with analysts expecting this to ease to 4.2% for the second quarter.

Daily Mail heads for stock market off-ramp

The nine-month trading update from the Daily Mail and General Trust PLC (LON:DMGT) is likely to be overshadowed by the owner’s recently announced intention to take the company private.

Rothermere Continuation said it would make an offer worth around 251p per share of what’s left of the newspapers and exhibitions company after two deals happen: the potential sale of its insurance risk business, RMS, and the flotation of online car dealer Cazoo, in which it has a 16% stake.

Analysts will be keen to discern whether this move has been sparked by the core group showing signs of doing better than expected or the reverse; in the case of the latter, owners often like to take the company private to put in some long-term fixes away from the public eye.

Thursday July 22

Trading announcements: Daily Mail & General Trust PLC (LON:DMGT), AJ Bell PLC (LON:AJB), Diploma PLC (LON:DPLM), PensionBee Group PLC (LON:PBEE), SSE PLC (LON:SSE), Britvic PLC (LON:BVIC), Countryside Properties PLC (LON:CSP), Workspace Group PLC (LON:WKP)

Finals: Mulberry Group PLC (LON:MUL), Ideagen PLC (LON:IDEA), IG Group Holdings PLC (LON:IGG)

Interims: Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR), Centrica PLC (LON:CNA), Howden Joinery Group PLC (LON:HWDN), Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN), Breedon Group PLC (LON:BREE), Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC (LON:MONY)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 1.26 points off the index: Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN)

Economic data: US jobless claims


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