Business Information Service: This week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: The yearly figure for the UK's fourth-quarter GDP in 1992 is expected to show a fall of 0.4 per cent, following a drop of 0.7 per cent in the third quarter. This would give a decline of 0.9 per cent for the year as a whole, against government forecasts of a 1 per cent drop.

TUESDAY: Amstrad's interims are expected to show that trading remains difficult. However, losses at the operating level should be down to about pounds 2m, from pounds 16.2m last time. Analysts are looking for a break-even figure on first-half pre-tax profits if Amstrad absorbs the pounds 10- pounds 15m cost of restructuring its European operations in the second half.

Full-year profits at National Westminster Bank should rise to pounds 450m, up from pounds 110m, although they will still be depressed by the high level of provisions - pounds 1.85bn compared with pounds 1.88bn in 1991.

No surprises at SmithKline Beecham, where final profits should be up by 11 per cent at pounds 1.1bn with a strong cash flow reducing interest payments.

Unilever should show final pre-tax profits of around pounds 2bn, up by 13 per cent on last year after strong contributions from Latin America and South-east Asia.

WEDNESDAY: Final results from British Aerospace will include a pounds 750m exceptional charge. Pre-tax losses of about pounds 140m are expected, against profits of pounds 129m last time.

THURSDAY: Final profits forecasts at British Gas, which recently announced a pounds 70m redundancy charge, have been downgraded by about 10 per cent to pounds 882m.

A pounds 120m pre-tax loss for the year is expected at Royal Insurance, whose fortunes are now expected to pick up. UK underwriting losses are forecast at pounds 260m, despite fewer motor claims and a good performance in personal lines.

Data for UK visibles trade will include only non-EC balances due to the new requirements on the calculation of EC trade data. At present, trade with the EC amounts to 56 per cent of exports and 51 per cent of imports. The median forecast for January stands at a deficit of pounds 1.3bn, compared with pounds 1.4bn (non-EC) in the previous month.

FRIDAY: Full-year replacement cost earnings of pounds 3.08bn are expected from Shell T&T, with the fourth quarter contributing pounds 820m, up by 67 per cent on the equivalent period. This, however, will be due principally to unrealised profits of pounds 150m on foreign currency cash reserves after sterling's depreciation. Lower chemical margins indicate a less healthy underlying performance.

The CBI trends survey for March should show signs of a pick-up in manufacturing following recent improvements in UK economic data.

SATURDAY: Pressure for a stronger Japanese yen is expected to emerge from the G-7 central bank governors' meeting in London.

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

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