Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Full-year profits at HSBC are expected to rise 114 per cent to pounds 1.85bn. The increase comes with the inclusion of Midland Bank's second-half results and the Hong Kong dollar's rise from 14.6 to 11.7 relative to sterling. Underlying growth is nearer 50 per cent.

UK manufacturing output data for January is expected to show signs of improvement. Average forecasts point to a rise of 0.2 per cent month on month, and a yearly increase of 1.1 per cent. The December data showed rises of 0.1 and 0.3 per cent respectively.

January data for UK industrial production should register a 0.2 per cent monthly fall, slightly down on December's 0.1 per cent decline.

TUESDAY: The Budget.

Year-end losses are forecast to deepen at Wimpey, the housebuilder, down to pounds 117m from pounds 16.1m. After 1992's write- offs, analysts estimate it will have depleted its shareholders' funds by around pounds 200m.

The UK February PSBR is expected to show a pounds 4.5bn deficit, consistent with a PSBR for the year of about pounds 35bn.

WEDNESDAY: Marley, a maker of building materials, will see final pre-tax profits drop by up to 72 per cent to pounds 7m after the housing market failed to revive.

Following an optimistic CBI survey last week, further signs of improvement are expected from February's UK retail sales. A monthly rise of 0.2 per cent and a yearly rise of 1.9 per cent are forecast.

THURSDAY: Any bad news in Guinness's results will not be unexpected after the profits warning in December and the pounds 125m restructuring charge announced in January. Pre-tax profits are expected to fall by 3 per cent, from pounds 956m to pounds 920m.

Analysts expect that organic sales growth, strong cash generation and the advantageous sterling/dollar exchange rate will have made 1992 another good year for Rentokil. A 22 per cent rise to pounds 115m in pre-tax profits is estimated.

Reed International's figures were well flagged at the time of its merger with Elsevier, but analysts are looking for combined pre-tax profits of pounds 239m, with earnings of 30.1p.

Market estimates of United Biscuits' final pre-tax profits range from pounds 159m to pounds 165m. A pounds 160m figure would represent a 24 per cent decline on 1991. The results will include a pounds 10m charge for the closure of a US factory and redundancies.

January data for UK average earnings should show that the 4.75 per cent rise seen in December has held up, although recent evidence shows a lower bias in January wage deals.

FRIDAY: Anglia TV's profits could have increased by as much as 48 per cent to pounds 12.9m, helped along by a reduction in its exchequer levy and substantial cost savings.

The UK RPI is expected to show a 0.5 per cent rise in February. This would allow the year-on-year rate of growth to decline to 1.7 per cent, from the 2.1 per cent seen in January.

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