Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: London will provide the venue for the annual Franco-British summit.

In an important week for German economic indicators, Germany's GFK consumer confidence is expected to show little improvement as the economic uncertainty continues.

TUESDAY: The UK parliamentary summer recess begins.

Interim results from Reuters Holdings will reflect the strength of its core operations, the success of recent product launches and its impressive cash generation.

Rationalisation benefits will mean a 19 per cent rise in interim pre-tax profits to pounds 223m. Strong dividend cover could see the interim dividend raised by as much as 30 per cent to 6.9p.

In the US, July consumer confidence should fall back to 57.2 from 58.9 in June.

WEDNESDAY: Attention will focus on two aspects of BAT's interim results, US domestic tobacco profits - which have suffered from destocking and the popularity of discount brands - and the dividend.

An increase of at least 7 per cent in the payout would reassure the market. Profits before tax are forecast to rise by 13 per cent to pounds 710m, with Natwest Securities seeking year-end profits of pounds 1.9bn.

THURSDAY: The government could lose another safe seat in the Christchurch by-election.

ICI's interim results will illustrate the lack of any substantial recovery in the UK and US, and deterioration in Continental European markets.

Flat operating profits, achieved in spite of the underlying downturn in trading conditions, will reflect ICI's ability to cut costs, and the advantages that were gained through the devaluation of sterling.

Analysts' forecasts for first- time interim pre-tax profits from Zeneca range from pounds 320m to pounds 340m, on trading profits between pounds 400m and pounds 410m. They anticipate year-end pre-tax profits of pounds 600m-610m.

LWT is the first Channel 3 company to report interim figures after bringing the date forward following the conversion of the management shares. A 6 per cent increase to pounds 14.5m is expected in pre-tax profits, despite a 15 per cent downturn in advertising revenues.

Interim figures from Lex Service will be boosted by rising UK car sales, a good contribution from Arrow Electronics (before the sale of the stake in May) and nine-month results from the contract hire associates. Analysts expect pre-tax profits up 22 per cent to pounds 19.5m.

Figures on US new homes are forecast to show signs of improvement in June. The market average indicates an annual rate of 600,000, following a drop to 571,000 in May.

June US personal income is expected to remain unchanged on the month, against a rise of 0.6 per cent in May. Personal consumption expenditure in June should grow by 0.5 per cent month on month, following growth of 0.2 per cent in May.

FRIDAY: French unemployment for June should show further expansion to 11.6 per cent year on year following 11.5 per cent in May.

Results: NatWest Securities.

Median economic forecasts: MMS International.

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