Business Information Service: This week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: The container company Tiphook will have felt the chill of recession in its first half. The City expects pre-tax profits to fall to pounds 35m against pounds 39.2m in the previous first half.

Berkeley, the housebuilding group, is expected to reap the rewards of tight cost control and a reasonably priced land bank by producing first-half profits of pounds 6m against pounds 5.4m.

EC finance ministers hold their regular meeting in Brussels, hard on the heels of the Edinburgh summit.

TUESDAY: UK November producer prices will provide further evidence of sterling's September slide. PPI input prices are forecast to rise 1.2 per cent after a 2 per cent jump in October. Output prices are expected to rise by 0.2 per cent for a 3.3 per cent annual rise.

October industrial production figures should show a 0.1 per cent fall and manufacturing output also a 0.1 per cent drop, after a 0.4 per cent decline the previous month.

Greencore, the privatised Irish Sugar, is forecast to produce full-year profits of pounds 30.5m ( pounds 25.3m last time).

Yet more utilities report. Southern Water is expected to weigh in with interim profits of pounds 63m against pounds 61m.

WEDNESDAY: UK consumers, once feared an endangered species, may have been gripped by some early Christmas cheer. Retail sales for November are expected to notch up a modest 0.2 per cent rise.

The public sector borrowing requirement for November is forecast to show a shortfall of pounds 2.5bn against pounds 304m in November 1991.

THURSDAY: UK unemployment is expected to continue its upward march with a rise of 35,000 in November, against 24,200 in October.

Wessex Water, which has been busy establishing waste management joint ventures, is estimated to have made pounds 44m interim pre-tax profits against pounds 40m in the previous first half.

Devenish, the brewer under the threat of a possible re-bid by Boddington, is expected to make pounds 12.7m in the full year against pounds 11.5m last time.

FRIDAY: Archie Norman, the youthful chief executive of the supermarkets group Asda, may be facing slower cash sales growth, but the share price continues to bubble along nicely. Since the summer it has climbed from 22.5p to a high this month at 59p. Interim pre- tax profits are estimated to reach pounds 37m from pounds 10.1m (before exceptionals of pounds 78.9m) last time.

Bank and building society lending in November is not expected to repeat the sharp pounds 5.4bn upward blip in October, but come in with a more sedate pounds 2.3m rise. M4 money supply growth is expected to be 5.4 per cent up on a year ago, unchanged from October. Building society net new commitments are expected to be little changed from October at pounds 2.1bn. The market is looking for a pick-up in output and orders in CBI Trends.

Results: County NatWest Woodmac. Median economic forecasts: MS International.

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