The Week Ahead: All eyes on gaming groups as City bets on merger

London Clubs International (LCI), home of the exclusive Les Ambassadeurs club in Mayfair, will report its annual results on Wednesday, as will Stanley Leisure, owner of the Crockfords venue. Both companies' share prices have soared on hopes they might be pushed together by Genting, the Malaysian leisure group, which has built stakes in the groups and owns more than 20 per cent of each.

Merger rumours will still abound. Analysts expect LCI to report a pre-tax loss of up to £2m, with the company hit by refurbishment delays. Stanley Leisure's profits are also expected to drop on last year, after a run of winning favourites knocked results from the betting division. But Stanley has recently sold its betting shops to William Hill, which will deliver about 250p to shareholders.

Both companies will update the market on their plans to take advantage of the new Gambling Act. This allows casino operators to advertise for the first time, and scraps the rule that barred customers from entering the casino until 24 hours after they had signed up. LCI and Stanley will reveal their strategy for competing for 17 casino licences, the jackpot of which will be a supercasino with 1,250 high-prize slot machines.

TODAY: Not quite as glamorous as Les A's, but still in the world of gambling, IG Group, the spread-betting company, will report its first results after rejoining the stock market this year. IG is expected to deliver strong figures, thanks to product innovation and the growth of spread betting as a City activity. Analysts expect IG to produce earnings of about £35m, up about 40 per cent on last year.

Results: Full year - IG Group, Planit Holdings, Stanley Leisure, Vantis Group. Trading statement: - Wolseley.

TOMORROW: Shares in ARM Holdings, the computer-chip company, have had a strong run in recent months, boosted byan upbeat statement in April.

Arm will have to reassure investors it is on track to deliver its promise of 20 per cent growth in underlying revenues, after it achieved growth of 23 per cent in first-quarter sales. Rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices have delivered better-than-expected results, and sentiment towards Arm is likely toimprove if it is equally bullish.

Results: Full year - NCC Group, Universal Salvage, Private Equity Investor. Interims - ARM Holdings, Low and Bonar. Trading statements - Thorntons, Virgin Mobile. AGMs - British Airways, Johnson Matthey.

WEDNESDAY: Investors in GUS are desperate for the retail sector to buck up so the conglomerate can press the button on what many feel is a long overdue demerger of its Experian financial-services arm.

On that front, the group's first-quarter numbers are likely to disappoint. Like-for-like sales at Argos are expected to fall for the second successive quarter, with analysts pencilling in a 5 per cent decline. Michelle Ryan at Lehman Brothers thinks Experian will offset a weak performance from Argos and Homebase with a 19 per cent rise in its sales.

Results: Full year - none scheduled. Interims - Corporate Synergy Group. Trading statements - GUS, LogicaCMG, Peter Hambro Mining, O2.

THURSDAY: This is the week's heaviest day on the results schedule, when consumer-spending trends will dominate the agenda. Boots returns to its hometown of Nottingham for its annual meeting for the first time since 2000. It's a moot point as to whether the health-and-beauty retailer will be glad it bothered. Despite Richard Baker's best efforts as chief executive to revive the group, the market and Boots' under-funded history are against him.

Last year was marred by profit warnings, the unexpected resignation of the finance director and the decision to sell-off its international health-care business. Given the state of the high street, this year is unlikely to have started much better. First quarter underlying sales across its retail estate are likely to fall up to 2 per cent.

Results: Full year - London Clubs International, Misys, Spice Holdings. Interims - QXL Ricardo, Colt Telecom, MFI Group. Trading updates - Boots, Kesa Electricals, Ottakar's, JD Sports, N Brown, Invensys.

FRIDAY: Cable & Wireless, long the centre of takeover speculation, will update shareholders on trading today. The telecoms company reported a 13 per cent rise in annual profits in May, and investors will want further roll-out of its broadband network.

Results: Full year - none scheduled. Trading statements - Cable & Wireless, Scottish Power.

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