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Perth-based bus and rail group Stagecoach should post strong results on Wednesday after a recent update reported progress in all four of its divisions in the first 11 months of the financial year.

Fuel prices will be a concern, but broker Morgan Stanley recently rated Stagecoach as its top pick within the sector, adding it expects a further nine months extension to the West Coast main line rail franchise, until the end of 2012, while there is a possibility of it picking up another franchise, such as Greater Anglia, where it has been short-listed. Broker forecasts are for underlying profits of about £207 million against £161 million last time.

Investors in gambling firm Betfair have had little reason to smile since the firm floated last October.

The share price has fallen by more than 40% from its listing price of £13 as the company had been hit by a run of bad news and slowing growth.

Brokers are not expecting much in the way of an improvement with the full year figures on Wednesday.


House broker Morgan Stanley suggests pre-tax profits could fall to about £16 million from £18 million after a 12% first half drop to £6.8 million after costs associated with its listing were deducted.

Revenues at the core business, excluding the financial start-up LMAX, are set to reach about £334 million.

Swiss broker UBS says LMAX has failed to penetrate the competitive financial CFD retail market and has a very uncertain future, while the legal situation in a number of European countries where it operates is unfavourable.

Italy has tried to revoke its licence, while Greece and Germany are both looking to clamp down on betting exchanges like Betfair, which matches individual betters to each other. The group has also been affected by cancelled race meetings due to the weather and technical problems.

The company's supporters will hope the update may draw a line under the bad run of news and focus on expansion using its spare cash, possibly in the US or as a participant in the current round of consolidation underway among online gaming groups.


Photo by emdjt42, Press Association