Rogue Trader: The week ahead


Finals from Energis, the phone-line leasing company spun off from the National Grid. Fat cat chairman Gordon Owen got a bonus of pounds 838,000 when Energis floated. Now he's trying to irk us by backing online directory Scoot (with its terrible TV ads) and Free-to-Talk, where ads interrupt your phone calls.


British Airways final figures. Last year was a bit of a nightmare - strong pound, falling market share, reduced Far East travel and cost- cutters (that's their story, anyway). In the third quarter, BA - for the first time in living memory - posted a loss, despite raiding a pounds 60m employee bonus fund. Employee morale nose-dived, but Robert Ayling, the airline's politically-connected chairman, just sucked up closer to New Labour. Recently, passengers nominated BA as "carrier of last resort" for domestic business travel.


Carlton Communications final figures. Output from the "C word" of British television actually looks relatively good and uncynical now that Channel 5 has arrived (taking a good slice of Carlton's core ad income).


3i, "Europe's Largest Venture Capital Group", to issue final figures: board still smarting over its abortive attempt to snap up Electra for pounds 1.3bn.


Annual reports from South Staffordshire, Thames, Anglian and Bristol Waters and a couple of big breweries - just as trad Brit summer water shortages loom.

This week's Georgians ...

GEORGE I: Presided over interest rate cuts, debased the currency, increased national debt, invented prime ministers, unleashed South Sea Bubble. Then went home to Germany. Ate too many melons and dropped stone dead.

GEORGE II: Presided over interest rate rises to finance costly Euro wars. Dropped stone dead on being brained by cricket ball.

GEORGE III: Presided over yo-yo interest rates and debt. Upset Yanks and cleared off to Windsor to grow pineapples. Mistook French ambassador for a tree.

EDDIE GEORGE: Got a Bank of England independent of Parliament, but not from Germany. Upset Geordies by saying unemployment was a "price worth paying" for low inflation. Mistook a rising stock market and falling unemployment for a recession.

Jaw-dropping facts and searing insights this week are culled from the Investors Chronicle.

The main risk involved in house-price speculation "is that the value of property may have fallen by the time you sell". Also to be borne in mind: "House prices can be volatile."

The secret of success is laid bare: "If a firm can't raise profits by raising prices, it must do so by cutting costs."

How the professionals do it: "Few fund managers will talk about their techniques for achieving performance. If it has been good, the best thing to do is keep quiet and hope it continues."

Business as usual: "Any analyst who says that they can pinpoint a fair valuation for internet stocks is hallucinating."

Capitalism explained: "Higher returns are the reward for taking on greater risk."

Headline of the week: "Beef recovery deals blow to ostriches".

Commodity news: the ups and downs of traded option folk

Coffee, resident manic depressive, went on a massive high. Vitamins were feeling sick after a visit from the cartel cops. Brent Futures got his comeuppance after his shorts were vigorously traded in London. Gold joined a religious cult in Korea, and felt wanted again. Pork Bellies got into a drunken bar-room brawl with the Lean Hogs. The Base Metal family stabilised after social services called, and began looking purposeful again. But will it last? Tune in next week!