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Ashtead, the UK-based equipment rental company, is set to release its first-quarter figures on Wednesday 3 September. The business is split into two areas covering the US and the UK. However, roughly 85% of the company’s revenue is derived from its US arm. The markets are anticipating adjusted earnings per share of 14.1p on the back of £442 million of sales. These figures should help the company increase pre-tax profits from £70.8 million in the fourth-quarter up to £111 million.
Considering the last time the company failed to beat market expectations was way back in the fourth-quarter of 2010, it would take a brave investor to bet against an expectation-beating set of figures.
With the company being so heavily involved in business in the US, it has, and will continue to benefit from the recovery of the US markets. This also brings its own issues with the well-publicised ‘currency headwinds’ excuse many businesses have used. It is inevitable some of these expected profits will be eroded from this US dollar exposure.
If the company can once again impress the markets with the next set of figures, it could well be the catalyst needed to force the shares above the previous highs of £9.91. Both the 50- and 100-day moving averages surround the £9 level so a fall below here, even on disappointing figures, looks unlikely.