Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
Monday

The CBI will release its quarterly industrial trends survey.

Tuesday

The UK's November construction orders will be published, as will January's consumer confidence figures in the US. President Clinton will deliver the State of the Union address in Washington.

Wednesday

WH Smith, the stationery-to-records retailer, is expected to unveil a 16 per cent rise in interim profits, after limited improvement in its books and music businesses. However, trying conditions in its main markets may combine with the malaise in the high street to depress future earnings.

Thursday

The UK's Social Trends - 1994 edition - will be published, as will figures for engineering sales and orders during November. The US will release a batch of economic data, including December's durable orders, which should show a small rise of about 0.3 per cent. Spain is scheduled to suffer a 24-hour strike in protest at the government's plans for labour market reform. MFI, the struggling kitchen and bedroom furniture retailer, is likely to show a significant increase in its interim profits, to pounds 19.5m, as better sales combine with cost savings, including a reduction in its interest payments. Unitech, the electronic components and equipment maker, should turn in a 54 per cent interim profits rise, on the back of better trading in the US and Japan.

Friday

December's non-EC trade gap is forecast to hover at pounds 750m, roughly in line with November's, which showed a sharp deterioration to pounds 767m. US GDP during the fourth quarter is predicted to indicate a 4.7 per cent increase for the year.

Sources: MMS International, NatWest Securities

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