Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Interim figures from Tottenham Hotspur football club (an pounds 800,000 profit last time) will be of interest to anxious fans, if nobody else.

The UK parliament returns from the summer recess for what promises to be a stormy debate on Europe, the sterling crisis, rising unemployment and the recent coal industry cuts.

German M3 data, the key indicator of inflationary pressure looked at by the Bundesbank, will be released during the week. A rise to 10.2 per cent from the 9 per cent seen in August is expected after the heavy intervention early in the month.

The CBI releases its distributive trades survey for September.

TUESDAY: Results from building-related companies are generally making depressing reading. But McKechnie should have been helped by its Australian subsidiaries and involvement in the less cyclical food and pharmaceuticals sectors. Profits at the year end are expected to beat forecasts of pounds 24m.

After the recent rise in the dollar, attention has switched to US-biased stocks. SmithKline Beecham should bring in solid results. Analysts are forecasting third-quarter profits of between pounds 265m and pounds 275m, against pounds 252m last time.

UK money data will be released. The M4 figures, indicating how much cash is in circulation (plus bank and building society accounts), will probably show a fall on the month after the doomed intervention on the foreign exchange markets by the authorities to support sterling.

The number of UK housing starts for September will probably fall after a brief flurry of activity in August before the reimposition of stamp duty.

WEDNESDAY: Analysts expect full- year results from Smiths Industries to show that it has survived another year of the recession relatively unscathed. The stronger dollar and favourable performance by the medical division cannot, however, conceal the difficult trading in aerospace.

Profit forecasts range between pounds 96m and pounds 108m, little changed from the pounds 105.8m figure that Smiths restated at the interim stage to include certain exceptional charges previously treated below the line. The dividend is expected to rise to about 11.2p, from 10.7p.

UK retail sales figures for September are expected to show a modest fall of about 0.3 per cent. This would represent year-on-year growth of 0.7 per cent, down from 1 per cent in August.

A meeting of G7 deputies begins in Paris, but it is unlikely that their discussions on the world recession will produce any recommendations for action.

THURSDAY: Final profits at Albert Fisher are expected to fall to between pounds 56m and pounds 62m, down from pounds 89m. Prices have come under pressure due to an abundance of fresh produce supplies, and US sales continue to suffer from the recession. Frozen foods and cockles remain disappointing.

Stephen Wallis, the new chairman, should reveal details of his strategy for returning the group to better levels of profitability.

The CBI releases October's industrial trends survey.

Commentators hope to see a slight improvement in the trade deficit when the UK September trade figures are released, to pounds 1.1bn from pounds 1.4bn. Last month's figures, excluding oil and erratics, showed the worst deficit since August 1990.

FRIDAY: The French current account should look healthier than the UK's - France's trade figures for September are forecast to show a surplus of Fr1bn ( pounds 125m) after a deficit of Fr3bn in August.

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

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