Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: German economic data expected to be released for the coming week is for import prices for September which are due between Monday and Thursday. A monthly decline of 0.4 per cent is expected, following the even sharper 1.1p er cent fall in August.

TUESDAY: In the US, the first estimate of Gross National product growth in the third quarter is expected to show GDP expanding by an anaemic 1.6 per cent on the year, compared with a 1.5 per cent growth in the second quarter.

WEDNESDAY: Results for the six motnhs to September from high street fashion and food retailer, Marks and Spencer, is forecast to lift total pre-tax profits by 16 per cent from pounds 214.7m to pounds 250m in the absence of last year's pounds 16.9m exceptional redundancy payments. UK stores are expected to have maintained the same level of sales growth. Overall interest charges are set to fall sharply.

Reed International is expected to report lower pre-tax profits for the six months to September. Turnover is expected to show a slight fall from pounds 764m to pounds 761m. Reduced margins in consumer and business publications is expected to result in a 14 per cent fall in trading profits, while interest charges are forecast to increase significantly from pounds 10.7m to pounds 17.9m. Pre-tax profits for the six month period is expected to be 18 per cent lower at pounds 88.3m, but Reed is expected to declare a higher half year dividend of 5.3p (5p).

Annual pre-tax profits from Wellcome are expected to have grown by 27 per cent from pounds 402.9m to pounds 510m at the top end of market predictions. For the year to August turnover is forecast at pounds 1.807bn (pounds 1.606.3bn). Wellcome is expected to have benefitted from the disposal of lower margin businesses and cost saving initiatives by its management. Operating profits are expected to be ahead 25 per cent.

Durable goods orders in the US for September are forecast to show an increase of 0.5 per cent after falling by 0.1 per cent in August. Also US personal income is expected to have risen by 0.4 per cent, recovering from a 0.5 per cent drop in August, while personal consumption expenditure is also predicted to rise by 0.4 per cent compared with a drop of 0.1 per cent previously.

THURSDAY: Nine month pre-tax profits from Imperial Chemical Industries are forecast at 25 per cent down at pounds 525m (pounds 703m), on reduced turnover of pounds 8.845bn (pounds 9.442bn), hurt by a gloomy European chemicals industry. More detailes about its proposed demerger are likely to be revealed when the results are announced.

UK Chancellor Norman Lamont will deliver his annual Mansion House speech to the City. He will be expected to give more detail on the post-ERM approach to monetary policy sketched to the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee earlier this month.

FRIDAY: No major announcements

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