Business Information Service: This Week

MONDAY: British Vita, the chemicals group, is expected to beat expectations with a 22 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 29.5m for the half-year to June.

Rugby Group, the building materials company, is forecast to lift pre-tax profits 10 per cent to pounds 30m for the half year to June.

US markets will be closed for the Labour Day holiday.

In the UK, credit business is not expected to show any signs of a revival in July. A fall of pounds 50m is forecast, compared with a decline of pounds 135m in June.

TUESDAY: Interim pre-tax profits from Fisons, the health and household products group, are forecast to have more than halved to pounds 40m (pounds 95.2m) in the period to June.

Pre-tax profits at building products and engineering group IMI are forecast to be 8 per cent lower at pounds 37m for the half year to June.

WEDNESDAY: Lower trading activity in Europe is expected to drag down interim pre-tax profits at Associated British Ports to pounds 16.5m (pounds 31.7m).

Interim figures from ECC, formerly English China Clays, the industrial materials group, are expected to show a small rise in pre-tax profits from pounds 53.2m to pounds 56m.

Hillsdown Holdings, the food manufacturer, is forecast to return a slight increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 80m for the half year to June.

Nine-month pre-tax profits from NFC, the transport group, are expected to be little changed at pounds 63m.

Increased use of ferries is expected to have helped P&O to a 19 per cent gain in pre-tax profits to pounds 75m for the half year to June.

Prudential is forecast to lift pre-tax profits from pounds 170m to pounds 190m in the half year to June as losses from general insurance are trimmed.

German retail sales figures for July are expected this week or next. A fall of 4.5 per cent year-on-year is predicted, compared with the 6 per cent fall in the year to June.

THURSDAY: First-half pre-tax profits from building materials group Blue Circle Industries are expected to fall by 25 per cent to pounds 42.5m.

Pre-tax profits from food manufacturer Booker are anticipated to have improved slightly to pounds 33.5m (pounds 32.9m) in the first half.

Six-month results from industrial materials group BTR should reflect the weakness in most of its markets. Pre-tax profits are expected to fall 5 per cent to pounds 485m.

Cadbury Schweppes is forecast to show a rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 118m (pounds 111.5m) for the six months to June.

Robust performances from Zantac, the anti-ulcer drug, and Zofran, the anti-emesis drug, are forecast to have lifted Glaxo to pre-tax profits of pounds 1.427bn (pounds 1.283bn) in the first half.

Net interim profits from mining group RTZ are expected to remain around last year's level at pounds 155m.

The latest UK CBI distributive trades survey will be scrutinised for indications of how high-street sales fared in August, ahead of the following week's official retail sales figures.

FRIDAY: United Biscuits is expected to report a 12 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to pounds 74.5m (pounds 84.5m) in the first half, hurt by dwindling volumes.

The UK retail price index for August is expected to reveal a monthly increase of 0.4 per cent, pushing the year-on-year rate up from 3.7 per cent in July to 3.8 per cent. But excluding mortgage rates, a fall in the year-on-year rate from 4.4 per cent last month to 4.2 per cent is expected.

In the US, producer prices in August are expected to have risen 0.2 per cent, the same as in July.

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

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