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    Some Coldplay Comfort Ahead For Robust EMI

    Though battered by the failure of rock stars to deliver albums on time, music giant EMI will this week reassure investors that better days lie ahead.


    Delays to new releases from Coldplay and the Gorillaz were behind a profits warning issued by EMI earlier this year and the music giant has guided the City to a haul of around £138m for the year to March 31 against £163.4m last time.


    Both albums will be on store shelves by June 6 so investors will hope for a less turbulent time ahead, although it remains to be seen whether the company can recover any of the market share it has lost to rival Universal.Other issues that are likely to dominate its results statement tomorrow include action against music piracy and the popularity of legal downloads.


    Catalogue retailing group GUS will provide the latest snapshot of activity on the UK high street when it posts on Wednesday.


    Investors will be looking for news on recent sales at its Argos chain after GUS said in April that shoppers had cut back on buying furniture and other big-ticket items. However, this contrasted with a good performance from credit checking arm Experian. Stockbroker Charles Stanley is expecting pre-tax profits to come in at £948.5m against £826.6m previously.


    Analyst Simon Proctor said attention would inevitably turn to the issue of corporate structure since some sort of break up of the business was likely.


    He added, "We believe GUS's management are determined not to rush the process, and we do not expect any significant announcement on this issue."


    Mobile phone giant Vodafone is set to provide more uplifting news for the telecoms sector tomorrow, just a week after rival O said it had more than tripled profits.


    Analysts are expecting Vodafone to ring in a robust set of final results with strong momentum across all its key divisions.


    Fund manager Barclays said Spain, Italy and Germany should continue to be the main growth drivers. It will be looking for reassurance that the new management is starting to improve the pace of performance.


    The market is likely to focus on the level of the new shareholder buyback programme. Pre-tax profits are expected to reach £10.2bn against £10bn last time.


    Investors will be expecting few surprises from struggling retailer Marks & Spencer when it reports annual results tomorrow.


    M&S has issued detailed guidance predicting pre-tax profits of between £610m and £625m, towards the top end of analysts' original forecasts.


    The key focus is likely to be on sales and gross margin trends in April and May, particularly after weaker numbers reported by competitors such as Next.


    The market will be looking for evidence that the group's food sales have stabilised in recent months.


    Analysts at Barclays are forecasting profits of £621m against £751m the year before.


    Budget airline easyJet will unveil its first-half figures tomorrow which analysts at Barclays expect to show pre-tax losses of £25m, widening from a deficit of £16m, last time.


    The six months to March 31 is a seasonally weak trading period for the carrier although it will have been helped by the timing of Easter this year.


    Telecoms group Cable & Wireless could surprise the market with its dividend payout when it posts final profits on Thursday. The group, expected to turn in pre-tax profits of £377.3m against £359.2m a year ago, could beat dividend expectations given its £1.15bn of free cash and lower-than-expected long term spending plans. Analysts say C&W has the ability to pay out more than the expected 3.1p in the full year and are tipping 3.4p.


    Source: icwales

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