Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Annual pre-tax profits from John Menzies, the Edinburgh- based retailer that owns 283 high street newsagents, the chain of Early Learning Centres and Hammicks Bookshops, are forecast to be 7 per cent higher at pounds 23m for the year to April. The result is expected to be flattered by the low exceptional costs of pounds 4m relating to Hammicks wholesaling operation, which is said to be for sale.

The Confederation of British Industry distributive trades survey will be scrutinised for clues on how retailers fared in June, ahead of the new retail sales figures on Wednesday.

UK money supply figures for June are expected to show that the narrow M0 measure expanded by only 1.8 per cent in the year to June, down from 2.5 per cent in May. Growth in the broad M4 measure, however, is thought to have slipped to 5.1 per cent compared with 5.3 per cent last time. M4 lending by banks and building societies is also expected to be relatively weak, showing an increase of pounds 2.3bn compared with the rise of pounds 3bn in May.

Germany's M3 money supply data is due this week but will be something of an anti-climax in the wake of the Bundesbank's policy tightening last week. It is still likely to attract considerable attention. Analysts expect the figures to show growth relative to the fourth quarter of 1991 slipping from 9 per cent in May to 8.8 per cent. Preliminary cost of living figures for July may also be released towards the end of the week. Forecasters expect the year-on- year rate to fall from 4.3 per cent in June to 3.5 per cent.

TUESDAY: Half-year results from Reuters Holdings, the financial information and international news agency which recently launched its computerised foreign exchange dealing system Dealing 2000-2, is expected to reveal a 12.5 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 191.4m for the period to June. Total income is not expected to show a significant improvement, while the group's cost-control programme and growing cash pile are seen as the main reasons for profits growth.

Second-quarter results from SmithKline Beecham, the Anglo- American pharmaceuticals and consumer products group, are expected to be in line with the group's target of 8-10 per cent growth at pounds 254m ( pounds 230m). The group's pharmaceutical division is forecast to push revenue growth from 5 per cent in the first quarter to 8.5 per cent in the second.

US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is due to give his half-yearly Humphrey-Hawkins testimony to the Senate banking committee, with markets eager to assess the likelihood of further Fed easing of policy.

WEDNESDAY: Ministers responsible for agreeing the EC budget are due to meet in Brussels following the inconclusive talks at Lisbon three weeks ago.

June's retail sales in the UK are forecast to show a 0.1 per cent rise, following the 0.3 per cent May increase. Meanwhile June overseas trade figures are expected to reveal a visible trade deficit of about pounds 1bn, up from pounds 845m in May, and a current account gap of pounds 800m following a deficit of pounds 645m last month. UK building society commitments for June are expected to be pounds 2.9bn, down from pounds 3.2bn in May.

THURSDAY: Greycoat, the property investment company, is expected to report sharply reduced pre-tax losses of pounds 7.4m ( pounds 38.5m) for the year to 31 March, but is believed to be in danger of breaching its banking covenants.

FRIDAY: June durable goods orders in the US are expected to show a 1 per cent rise following the sharp 2.1 per cent drop in May.

Company results: County NatWest Woodmac. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.