The week ahead: Property rebound puts Northern Rock on a roll

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Deutsche Bank was among several brokers that last week pointed out that trading conditions are improving for the Northern Rock. Deutsche Bank said: "UK mortgage indicators have improved significantly recently with Halifax house prices, mortgage approvals and new buyer inquiries all strengthening." This trend led Deutsche to upgrade its earnings forecasts for the bank.

Credit Suisse First Boston predicts that the bank will come out with an upbeat message for investors. It believes Northern Rock will have no problem meeting City forecasts for 2005 and even suggests that slight upgrades to earnings estimates may be required. The Swiss broker sees little danger of the mortgage bank coming out with any kind of negative comment.

TODAY: Results: Full year - Charteris; Tristel. Interims - None. Trading statements - Northern Rock; Severn Trent.

TOMORROW:Results: Full year - James Halstead. Interims - None. Trading statements - BP.

WEDNESDAY: Competition in the sportswear sector has been fierce of late. So fierce that in fact that last week Allsports collapsed into administration. Given these market conditions, investors will be keen to hear how JD Group, owner of JD Sports, is faring when the firm posts its interim results. There are no City forecasts for the first half of JD's year but Seymour Pierce hopes to see the group notch up a profit of £16.5m by the year end.

Results: Full year - Medical House. Interims - MTL Instruments; Chesnara; Alexandra; JD Group. Trading statements - None

THURSDAY: Despite the terrible trading conditions facing most UK High Street operators these days, Investec Securities believes Ted Baker has had a successful time of it so far this year. Investec forecasts the group to post a 7 per cent rise in first half profits to £6.25m as it benefits from new store openings. Since this time last year, Ted Baker has opened new stores on London's Regent Street and in Nottingham. Its US expansion is also continuing. The group opened a new store in Los Angeles earlier this year and a fresh shop should be up and running in Dallas later this month. This will take its total number of shops across the Atlantic to seven.

With most recent openings doing well, Investec is confident Ted Baker will be able to develop its US operations into a substantial business. At present they are small and generate less than £1m of profit but the broker estimates that Ted Baker can build a chain of about 50 stores which should be able to achieve a profit of around £23m once set up. According to Investec, the only issue is whether the retailer will move as quickly to grow this market as some would like.

The management team at Austin Reed, led by chief executive Nick Hollingworth, has been focused on making operational improvements at the clothes retailer in an attempt to restore it to profitability. These include supply chain changes, store closures and shop refits. If forecasts from Teather & Greenwood are anything to go by, the reforms seem to be working. For the first half of Austin Reed's year, the broker expects losses to have narrowed from £2.7m to £1.2m. Last year's performance by the group was so dire that even its management described it as "unacceptable". Mr Hollingworth arrive at Austin Reed during the spring and was given the task of implementing a turnaround. The company's AGM statement in June showed that he had steadied the ship.

Results: Full year - Sinclair Pharma. Interims - Ted Baker; Austin Reed. Trading statements - Halfords; Cadbury Schweppes.

FRIDAY: Is the tentative recovery flagged by J Sainsbury during the summer still continuing? City analysts want an answer to this question and the supermarket group's second quarter trading statement will provide it.

The drive by Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King, to improve product availability and motivate staff produced a 1.3 per cent rise in first quarter sales. Sainsbury's has pledged to spend at least £400m on product quality and is placing more emphasis on fresh food and own label products to entice shoppers back to its stores. However, it faces a struggle as trading conditions in the sector deteriorate.

Results: Full year - Waterman Group. Interims - None. Trading statements - J Sainsbury.

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