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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Results from East Midlands Electricity will be the first from a regional electricity company this year, followed later this week by those of Manweb and South Wales Electricity.

Its final pre-tax profits, calculated under FRS3, should show a 5 per cent increase to pounds 158m after a good performance by core businesses and further cost cuts in distribution.

On the economic front, wholesale price pressures remain subdued. Factory gate prices are forecast to show a 0.2 per cent increase in May, lifting the 12-month increase to 3.9 per cent, barely up on April's figure. Raw material prices are expected to have eased 0.2 per cent last month, which still suggests a rise in the annual rate to 7.1 per cent against 6.8 per cent in April.

TUESDAY: Final pre-tax profits from Wessex Water are expected to be around pounds 86m, up by about 11 per cent.

FKI's results augur well; at the interim stage it reported a 13 per cent increase in material handling, a 12 per cent increase in hardware orders, and a 57 per cent higher order backlog in engineering. The City is looking for year-end pre-tax profits up 28 per cent at pounds 39m.

The new Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, should give details of his approach to economic policy in the annual Mansion House speech.

Further confirmation of UK economic recovery should come in April's manufacturing output figures. A 0.3 per cent rise is expected, supported by positive data from CBI surveys and purchasing managers. Weak oil output is likely to have depressed overall industrial production, however, with a rise of 0.2 per cent expected.

WEDNESDAY: The improving economy and housing market will continue to boost NFC's truck rental and moving services. It is also helped by the strong dollar, since 35 per cent of profits come from the US. Interim pre-tax profits, calculated under FRS3, are expected to soar from pounds 37.2m to pounds 91.5m.

Improved sales at department stores, and a rise in cash in circulation, point to improved UK retail sales for May. Forecasts suggest a 0.2 per cent lift. The yearly rise would be 3.1 per cent, from 2.5 per cent in April.

THURSDAY: Uncertainty surrounds UK unemployment figures for May. After three months of decline, forecasts range from no change to a 25,000 rise. May's retail price figures should show a monthly rise of 0.4 per cent, lifting the annual rise slightly to 4.1 per cent.

Severn Trent is expected to report unchanged pre-tax profits of pounds 265m. Predicted pre-tax profits of pounds 120m at Southern Water would represent growth of 10 per cent.

FRIDAY: UK money supply figures for May should show M4 continuing to expand at the rate of 3.6 per cent, from 3.5 per cent in April. M4 lending should show a rise of about pounds 2bn.

Results: NatWest Securities. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.

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