The US markets will be closed for President's Day.
Fourth quarter GDP in the UK is expected to be broadly in line with the previous quarter. Hardening insurance rates and relatively good weather should help to push GRE's pre-tax profits for the year up to a healthy pounds 147- pounds 180m. Unilever is likely to show a 14 per cent rise to pounds 2.3 bn for the year.
Pre-tax losses at British Aerospace will probably fall to pounds 184m from pounds 1.2bn last year. Its plan to sell Rover will not affect 1993 figures. Commercial Union will benefit from insurance rate increases and is expected to produce pre-tax profits around pounds 208m, despite commercial fire losses in Australia.
Durable goods orders in the US should be up by 1.5 per cent during January. In its first year of reporting after the split with Zeneca, ICI is predicted to deliver pounds 280m in profits. British Gas, labouring in the wake of the Monopolies Commission's report and the DTI's decision to open the domestic market in 1996, will see its share price continue to lag despite profits of about pounds 934m, broadly in line with last year. Profits at Shell T&T should be up 10 per cent, although the low oil price will affect profits upstream without bringing benefits in the depressed chemicals business. Meanwhile Royal Insurance's performance will be marred by pollution exposure and poor underlying results in the US.
Negotiations will begin on enlargement of the European Union. The CBI will release its monthly trends inquiry and the non-EC trade deficit is expected to rise to pounds 750m in January.
Sources: NatWest Securities, MMS International
'Both are withdrawing, calmly, politely and systematically.' - Gerard Longuet, the French industry minister, on the break-up of the Renault-Volvo deal
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