TUESDAY: UK April official reserves are expected to record a rise of around pounds 100m, compared with a drop of pounds 1.7bn in March. The Bank of England is believed to have recouped its reserves fully following the ERM crisis. As such, the possibility of another sharp fall is unlikely.
Finals from BMSS and Silentnight Holdings. Interims from Broadgate Investment Trust.
WEDNESDAY: First-quarter results from BAT Industries, the tobacco and financial services group, are expected to show a rise of about 24 per cent to pounds 325m. A stronger dollar has helped the group, and the Farmers finance operation also showed strong growth. However, Eagle Star's underlying recovery is expected to suffer and Allied Dunbar's profits are expected to edge down. Meanwhile, the prospect of a cigarette price war as Philip Morris tries to win back market share overshadows current performance. And fears that Bill Clinton's health care reforms will squeeze margins also loom large.
Signs of recovery should appear at Royal Bank of Scotland, with a rise in interim profits to around pounds 63m from pounds 48m. The Royal should report a significant reduction in bad debts, and strong growth in pre-provision profits thanks to the benefits of cost cutting. A strong balance sheet means that the dividend will at least be maintained, at 2.8p.
Tate & Lyle, the target of some profit-taking recently, could see an upturn in shares if interims meet expectations. The market is forecasting between pounds 100m and pounds 110m ( pounds 92m last time) on the back of a strong recovery in sugar profits. Continental operations will suffer from the worsening recession. But prospects for the shares look good for the rest of the year. The dividend should edge forward to about 4.4p (4p).
German manufacturing orders for March are expected to drop 1 per cent, compared with a fall of 2.2 per cent in February.
THURSDAY: Results from the Bank of Scotland will be poor, down to about pounds 115m ( pounds 140.7m), though things should improve from here. Provisions will rise to around pounds 342m, from pounds 253m. However, analysts say this does not reflect a worsening of the recession in the North, but rather the necessity of 'top up' provisions because asset values are falling in the South. There are also likely to be provisions against the bank's exposure to Isosceles, currently refinancing.
Further evidence of the deepening recession in Germany will come from figures expected to show a 50,000 rise in west German unemployment. East German unemployment should fall about 10,000.
FRIDAY: US employment figures should show a 165,000 rise in non-farm payrolls in April, compared with a 22,000 fall in March. Unemployment will remain at about 7 per cent.
Finals from Cooper Clarke Group and Select Appointments. No interims.
Results: NatWest Securities.
Median economic forecasts: MMS International.Reuse content