5 Opportunities for the Week Ahead

LONDON -- Things are starting to get busy, with a number of important interim results from companies on the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) and other FTSE indices coming through next week.

And for a change, we have a couple of key full-year releases coming, too. Here are five opportunities that you might like to consider before the news is out, and do a bit of prior research yourself.

Non-life insurer Amlin (ISE: AML.L) will release interim results on Monday, and they'll be keenly awaited by investors who bought in recently, as the shares have stormed up by 22% to 380 pence since the start of June.

But even after that rise, Amlin, which is the largest underwriter at Lloyds of London, is still looking like a very nice dividend prospect. After a disaster-hit 2011, the company's May update was pretty positive, and expectations for the full year are upbeat.

The City is expecting a full-year dividend of over 6.3%, rising to 6.7% next year, with payouts covered around twice by earnings.

We should have interim results from Persimmon (ISE: PSN.L) on Tuesday, and July's trading update suggests the figures should be strong. The housebuilder told us that home completions in the first six months of the year are up 6% on the same period last year, with turnover up 18% to 805 million pounds. That helped the share price, which, at 691 pence, is up 30% since the start of July.

I'm particularly interested in Persimmon because I added it to the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio the day after that update, but we also have Bovis Homes reporting its interim results on Monday.

With both these companies and the rest of the sector on strong forecasts for earnings and dividend growth, I think there are good bargains to be had in the housebuilding business, even though the shares have already done well this year.

BHP Billiton
Full-year results from FTSE 100 miner BHP Billiton (ISE: BLT.L) are due on Wednesday, and should help illuminate the picture for the mining business as a whole. As we know, the mining sector, which is cyclical at the best of times, has been depressed by falling commodity prices on the back of the Chinese economic slowdown.

But mining shares have been making a bit of a comeback over the past couple of months, with BHP Billiton up around 16% to 1,592 pence since June. And forecasts are pretty decent -- most of the miners have a return to earnings growth expected in 2013. BHP Billiton, for example, is on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, based on forecasts for next week's figures, of under 10, and that falls a little for next year.

And with decent dividends, getting on for 4% in the case of Billiton, surely there are bargains to be had -- and yes, I added a miner to the Beginners' Portfolio, too.

Drinks giant Diageo (ISE: DGE.L) will release full-year results on Thursday, and what a year it has had -- the shares are up around 50% on 12 months ago, having hit a new 52-week high just a couple of weeks ago, and have more than doubled since early 2009.

Diageo, along with other drinks manufacturers and tobacco companies, is the kind of firm that does well in today's emerging global economy. As more and more wealth reaches the pockets of the billions in China, India and other emerging countries, there is more cash for them to spend on daily luxuries -- and the twin evils of drinking and smoking tend to figure highly.

Diageo's shares are not cheap by usual measures -- they're on a P/E of over 18 based on today's price of 1,687 pence and on expectations for Thursday's figures. But how far can sales and profits grow? It could be a long way.

Oil news
I'm not picking out any company specifically, but next week highlights a number of opportunities in the oil and gas business, covering a range of exploration areas worldwide.

For example, we have Afren, which has had a couple of successes in the past month, and which will be reporting on Tuesday. Afren shares have had a good couple of months, growing around 30% to 128 pence.

Melrose Resources is scheduled to report its interims on Wednesday, but all attention will now be drawn to the firm's announcement today that it has agreed merger terms with Petroceltic International.

On the same day, we should have interim results from Soco International, and on Thursday we'll get the same from Premier Oil.

If you're looking for more opportunities in the oil and gas business, you might want to consult the latest Motley Fool report, "How To Unearth Great Oil & Gas Shares", which should offer you some valuable help. Click here to get your personal copy while it's free.

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The article 5 Opportunities for the Week Ahead originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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