ROGUE TRADER: What's happening this week ...

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The Independent Online
Monday

Associated British Foods interims. The company, best known as owners of Fortnum & Mason, is in the doldrums with the share price down by almost a third this year. However, its owners, the Westons, will not be selling The Big Issue just yet. They are worth at least pounds 1.6bn.

Guinness Peat EGM: GP chief, Sir Robert Brierley, is a corporate raider (or "strategic investment specialist" as he puts it). Brierley's boys are strapping on their red braces and selling off most Australian assets to put pounds 90m cash into the war chest.

EU agriculture ministers meet for one of the regular squalid wrangles over the Common Agricultural Policy.

Tuesday

NatWest Bank holds its AGM. Last year, CEO Derek Wanless was all smiles after reporting a surge in pre-tax profits to pounds 2bn. While other banks are forming alliances with TV preachers (see below), Wanless is sticking to his dull but profitable knitting.

Reuters to issue figures. Profits crept ahead last year, so the company invested in France, acquiring a software company that analyses stock performance, making brokers redundant.

Wednesday

The Royal Bank of Scotland to issue final figures - which will be overshadowed by the entertaining row over its joint American venture with Robertson Financial Services, the banking wing of redneck Pat Robertson's tele- evangelism-cum-merchandising empire. What made the staid bank get into bed with a man who is campaigning to turn the Kosovo conflict into World War Three is anybody's guess.

Thursday

ICI to issue first-quarter figures. ICI is being stripped left, right and centre and is clearly in need of a better "troubleshooter" than John Harvey Jones.

Friday

GDP figures. More New Labour magic as last year's silly fears over global economic meltdown are officially banished and the UK is pronounced officially invulnerable to recession.

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