Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: The GDP figures for the first quarter should provide confirmation that recovery is under way in the UK. Including soft oil prices, a quarterly rise of 0.4 per cent is expected. This compares with a rise of 0.2 per cent for the last quarter of 1992.

On a yearly basis, this would show GDP up by 0.8 per cent, compared with an annual rise of 0.1 per cent in the year to Q4 1992.

The annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will take place over two days in London.

TUESDAY: Sears, the retail group, is expected to bring in final profits of between pounds 95m and pounds 100m. It is not applying FRS3 and analysts will look closely at exceptional and extraordinary costs for rationalisation, disposals and write-offs, which could total as much as pounds 150m.

The City expects that encouraging news from British Shoe Corporation and womenswear will be offset by poor performances from Home Shopping, Olympus and Adams. Interest charges could go up by pounds 3m to pounds 14m and the final dividend is forecast to be cut by 35 per cent to 2.5p.

Predicted year-end losses of pounds 336m-pounds 355m at Tarmac will be the largest declared pre-tax loss in the history of the UK building industry. The loss will be compounded by the fact that Econowaste was not sold in 1992, and Tarmac has therefore missed out on any potential profit from that sale last year.

There will also be big write-offs in housing (currently enjoying an upturn) and property, and the exceptional item will be swelled by redundancy costs. No change in the net dividend of 5.5p is expected.

The CBI's quarterly industrial trends survey is also expected to reflect signs of recovery. Confidence in investment and export orders should rise and particular attention will be paid to the outlook for employment and prices.

In the US, the April consumer confidence index is expected at 63.4, up from the March figure of 62.6.

WEDNESDAY: No significant economic data or results are expected.

THURSDAY: Final pre-tax profits could edge ahead by 4.3 per cent to pounds 28.6m at the property developer Brixton Estate, which has made excellent progress over the past decade. But its net asset value is forecast to plummet from 226p to 186p.

Kwik Save's interims should show profits ahead by 18 per cent at pounds 60.5m. Costs continue to fall and it has increased its rate of expansion into the South-east and Scotland.

The IMF and World Bank will hold a two-day meeting in Washington.

Evidence that the pace of the US recovery has slackened this year may come in advance data for first quarter US GDP. A quarterly rise of only 2.6 per cent would compare with an increase of 4.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 1992.

FRIDAY: No significant economic data or results are expected.

Results: NatWest Securities. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.

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