The Week Ahead: City fears consumer spending downturn

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Interim results from House of Fraser tomorrow are expected to show a improving scenario at Britain's third-largest department store chain with Williams de Broe forecasting a loss of about £3.4m compared to £6.6m in the same period last year. News of sales growth and continuing cost control is also expected. Full-year profitability will be heavily dependent on the crucial Christmas period, though the City will be looking for clues on the impact on trading of the US attacks.

TODAY: Investment bank Close Brothers cannot have had a good year. Stock markets have performed badly which will have impacted its asset management business. M&A activity has been drying up and economic uncertainty will have hit its lending business. A fall in full-year earnings is expected with analysts at stock broker Gerrard forecasting a 32 per cent profit decline to £98m.

Results: Full year – Close Brothers; Oxford GlycoSciences; Freeport; Leeds United; Benchmark Group. Interims – Brit Insurance; CA Coutts; T&S Stores.

TOMORROW: Building materials group Wolseley is expected to show a rise in full-year pre-tax profits to about £370m from £343m last year. However, the group's share price has been the most significantly hit in the sector since the events in the US. Weaker consumer confidence in the US, where the group gets more than 60 per cent of its revenues, will hit Wolseley hard given its dependence upon the economic confidence of the private sector.

Results: Full year – Wolseley; Compel Group. Interims – House of Fraser; Clinton Cards; Hiscox; QSP; Reed Executive.

WEDNESDAY: Full-year results from Smiths Group are likely to reveal the impact of the fourth-quarter slowdown in telecoms and autos industries, according to Deutsche Bank. The broker expects the group's medical and aerospace divisions to perform well throughout the second-half. There has been some investor concern regarding Smith's sizeable US exposure and its increased civil aerospace bias following the merger with TI. Deutsche Bank is expecting a pre-tax profit for the year of £266m on sales of £1.4bn.

Results: Full year – Barratt Developments; Smiths Group. Interims – Bloomsbury Publishing; Easynet; AG Barr; NMT.

THURSDAY: Energis is expected to give a pre-close period statement followed by an analyst conference. At its August AGM, management highlighted the revenue growth during the first-half of 2001 would not be as strong as previously anticipated. They did, however, say that the second-half would be better due to a doubling in the order book since April but investors remain to be convinced given the weakening economic outlook.

Results: Full year – Amstrad. Interims – Alizyme; Andrew Sykes; Hanover; Henry Boot; Laing; Wellington.

FRIDAY: Full year – NXT; Northamber. Interims – Stoddard; Multi Group; Cox Insurance; Dana Petroleum.

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