Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: EC finance ministers are due to hold a regular monthly meeting in Brussels, with ERM tensions expected to dominate the agenda. The British Labour Party begins its week-long annual conference in Blackpool.

TUESDAY: A recovery from a pounds 2.9m loss to pre-tax profits of pounds 23m is expected from the retail group Sears for the six months to July.

Pre-tax profits from Sherwood Group, the garments maker, are forecast to show a 23 per cent rise to pounds 8m (pounds 6.5m) for the six months to to June, despite lower than expected sales of lace.

In the US, the Conference Board's consumer confidence indicator is expected to fall from 58 per cent in August to 57 per cent in September, while the August index of leading economic indicators is predicted to show a 0.1 per cent rise, following a similar rise in July.

WEDNESDAY: Interim pre-tax profits from Bank of Scotland are forecast to be marginally lower at pounds 75m (pounds 75.7m) for the period to August.

Hogg Group, the insurance broker and Lloyd's underwriting agent, is expected to have suffered in line with other small brokers. Pre-tax profits of pounds 7.3m (pounds 8.3m) are forecast for the half-year to June.

Sales from Ratners, the jewellery retailer, are expected to reflect the fall- off in consumer demand. The pounds 18.3m taxable loss reported last time is forecast to worsen to pounds 30m for the six months to August.

The French government's 1993 budget will be released, beginning a period of discussion and approval that may last up to two months.

New home sales in the US for September are expected to be 578,000, up from 563,000.

THURSDAY: Six-month pre-tax profits from Alexon Group, a maker and supplier of clothing, are expected to be about 47 per cent down on last time at pounds 2m (pounds 3.8m).

Pre-tax profits at Forte, the hotels and catering chain, are expected to have fallen from pounds 42m to pounds 29m in the six months to July, hit by rising costs.

Pict Petroleum is expected to show profits of pounds 2.8m (pounds 4.6m) for the year to June, hurt by lower oil prices.

Redland, the building materials group with interests abroad, is expected to lift pre-tax profits from pounds 78.8m to pounds 87.5m in the half year to June.

The US National Association of Purchasing Managers index is expected to show a small rise to 54.0 for September, against 53.7 in August. Construction spending for August is forecast to rise by 0.3 per cent, following the 0.6 per cent fall in July.

FRIDAY: Half-year pre-tax profits from Scottish Television are forecast to rise from pounds 1.2m to pounds 2.5m, helped by increasing advertising revenue and programme sales.

The Bundesbank Council is expected to meet in eastern Germany a day ahead of the Unity Day holiday. Assuming that tensions within the ERM continue, speculation about a possible interest rate reduction will be strong.

US employment figures for September are expected to reveal a 48,000 fall in non-farm employment, following the 83,000 fall in August. Meanwhile, the civilian unemployment rate is expected to rise by 0.1 per cent to 7.7 per cent. Factory goods orders for August are expected to rise by 1 per cent, after the 1.1 per cent fall in July.

The UK Treasury will publish the official reserves for September and reveal the scale of the Bank of England's intervention during the recent sterling crisis. Expectations are of an underlying fall in reserves of dollars 15bn.

Company results: County NatWest Woodmac. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.

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