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The week ahead


The Bank of Japan to issue its annual economic survey, doubtless showing a recovery and generating optimism throughout Far Eastern markets. Hysterical speculation about Monetary Policy Committee interest rate decision officially begins.


Scottish & Newcastle finals. Profits should have been boosted by the sell-off of a lot of pubs (many to the Royal Bank of Scotland - what would Pat Robertson have said?) and the current fad for brewery closures and mass redundancies. The long term looks bleak. Younger consumers prefer to spend their evenings drinking a gallon of Lucozade, and jumping up and down for five hours, to slumping over the shove ha'penny table with a pot of Newky Brown.


Dixons finals. Gloat-fest over the failure of Kingfisher to snap up Asda slightly spoiled by the arrival of Wal-Mart. Freeserve is to be floated and will no doubt be a huge success given the South Sea Bubble/Tulip Mania me-too craze for internet stocks.


National Interest Rate Decision Day. RT has a spread bet on the base rate. I'll buy at -10 per cent and sell at +10 per cent. World Population Control Day. So don't give birth, sell Mothercare, and buy into London International Group, makers of Durex.


Nothing much happening except MFI furniture finals. Take the day off, and go shopping at Ikea.

This week's glove puppets

ROLAND RAT - Created by new BBC DG Greg Dyke to save TV-am (prop: Jonathan Aitken). Catchphrase: "Magic! Magic! Eeeyyyyyeeee, really Magic!"

ERROL THE HAMSTER - Created by Roland Rat to serve as his business manager. Welsh misanthrope and opponent of "dumbing down". Catchphrase: "Ohhh Rolly, boyo, I really can't see the point of all this rrrrrubbish."

KEVIN THE GERBIL - Created by Errol the Hamster. Yorkshire's first rodent rock superstar. Habit of throwing up into a pink plastic bucket. Had a Top 10 hit with Pink Bucket Reggae. Catchphrase: "Come up to Leeds - its borin', borin', borin'."

PETER STOTHARD - Editor of The Times. Created by Rupert Murdoch. Habit of calling for the BBC to be closed down and the licence fee diverted, partly, to BSkyB. Current catchphrase: "Fight for editorial independence! Stop Dyke! Shop a BBC leftie to the Media Monitoring Unit and win a Sky dish! Eat my shorts!"