Go-Ahead and WM Morrison in Thursday’s results spotlight

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Go-Ahead Group PLC (LON:GOG) on Thursday joins the week’s results rush, though the bus firm has already guided to a full-year profit of GBP63-75mln, of which GBP60mln came in the first half.

The public transport industry has been supported by UK government help throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as passenger numbers and revenue have been squeezed heavily.

But the bus operator, which will drop out of the FTSE 250 later this month as part of the latest index reshuffle, was recently buoyed by the government’s decision to extend the coronavirus support package for the industry indefinitely.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, Go-Ahead was granted a two-year contract extension to operate 450 buses in the Loyang region, showing confidence in the company’s work.

Can Morrison continue its growth streak?

WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC‘s (LON:MRW) first-half results will show whether its run of 14 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth has continued in the three months to the end of July, 2020.

The Bradford-based grocer, whose shares have dipped 5% in the year to date compared to the 23% fall of the wider Footsie, like its supermarket peers enjoyed status as a necessary service through the darkest days of the pandemic.

Analysts at AJ Bell think it may just have started to keep the discounters such as Aldi and Lidl at bay after its market share rose to 10.2% in the 12 months to August.

Interim pre-tax profits are expected to rise by 8% to GBP440mln as costs have been raising amid safety measures and bonuses to its hard-working staff. The dividend is expected to also advance by 8% to 7.32p a share.

Like his counterparts at rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s, chief executive David Potts has estimated that the increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) related costs will broadly offset the benefit of the holiday on business rates, amounting to GBP228mln this year, before payments recommence in April 2021.

Significant announcements expected on Thursday, September 10:

Interims: WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW), Team17 Group PLC (LON:TM17), Cairn Homes plc (LON:CRN), Epwin Group PLC (LON:EPWN), International Public Partnership Ltd (LON:INPP), Jadestone Energy Inc (LON:JSE), Midatech Pharma PLC (LON:MTPH), Mirriad Advertising PLC (LON:MIRI), Secure Income REIT PLC (LON:SIR)

Finals: Dunelm Group plc (LON:DNLM), Go-Ahead Group PLC (LON:GOG), Rank Group PLC (LON:RNK)

Trading announcements: Safestore Holdings PLC (LON:SAFE)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 0.09 points off the index: Avast PLC (LON:AVST)

Economic data: US initial weekly jobless claims, US PPI

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