Business Information Service: This week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Figures for UK December credit business are expected at pounds 15m for the month, in line with November. Hopes of a rise in credit lending during December have been dimmed by the data for UK December M4 released last week, which were poorer than expected.

Bryant Group's half-year profits will have been affected by falling rents and house prices, a collapse in land values, property write-downs and a shortage of construction work. Analysts expect profits of pounds 7.5m, against pounds 9.8m last time.

A different story at John Menzies where interim figures are expected to look very good following disposal of the loss- making Hammicks retail chain. A 90 per cent increase in pre- tax profits, to pounds 4m on turnover up by 10 per cent, is anticipated.

TUESDAY: Pre-tax profits at Reuters should be up by 13 per cent at pounds 385m. An anticipated net dividend of 19.5p represents a 15 per cent rise.

Figures for UK PPI output in January are expected to show an improvement of 0.8 per cent month on month, up from 0.2 per cent last month. A rise in January, however, is typical since many producers implement annual price increases at the beginning of the year.

The average forecast for the yearly figure stands at 3.6 per cent, against 3.5 last time. PPI input data, which is seasonally adjusted, is expected at 0.4 per cent month on month, up from 0.1 per cent in December. A rise to 5.7 per cent from 5.2 is forecast in the yearly figure.

WEDNESDAY: No results are expected.

THURSDAY: Fourth-quarter results from BP are expected to mark a turning point. Debt should fall in 1993, easing its gearing which reached 97 per cent in 1992. Full-year replacement cost profits are likely to be pounds 620m, with historic cost profits coming in at pounds 520m.

BT's third-quarter profits could be down 1.8 per cent at pounds 745m. But this will still be a vast improvement on the pounds 431m made in the second quarter. The figures will be helped by the fall in redundancy charges.

Also reporting is Lloyds Abbey Life, where year-end pre- tax profits are expected to drop by 5 per cent to pounds 290m.

FRIDAY: There should be further signs of falling inflation in the UK RPI headline figures for January. Market medians show a fall of 0.3 per cent month on month, compared with a 0.4 per cent decline in December. The yearly rate is anticipated at 2.3 per cent, against 2.6 per cent the previous month.

The underlying rate, however, excluding mortgage interest payments, should edge up to 3.9 per cent year on year, from 3.7 per cent.

Lloyds Bank's results are expected to be the strongest of the big four, with an expected rise of 9 per cent in pre-tax profits to pounds 700m and a similar rise in the dividend to 18.2p. Lloyds' credit experience is likely to be better than the sector average, though performance could be disappointing at operating level.

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

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