THE WEEK AHEAD

TODAY

Companies

Bryant Group, the housebuilder, has been caught out by the slowdown in housing sales in 1995 which has been compounded by its aggressive expansion over the last two years. Interim figures for the six months to November are expected to show a fall in pre-tax profits from pounds 21.4m to pounds 7.4m.

Interims: Second Alliance Tst.

Finals: Olim Convertible Trust.

AGMs: Invesco Recovery Trust

EGMs: Advanced Media Group, British-Borneo, Grosvenor Inn

Economics

The favourable trend in producer prices is likely to have continued last month, helped by a stronger pound and a dip in oil prices from their high December level. Analysts expect input prices to rise only 0.1 per cent. Prices charged at the fatory gate should rise about 0.5 per cent due partly to further effects of excise duty increases announced in the Budget. This would take the annual rate of increase down from 4.3 to 3.8 per cent, the best for nearly a year. Also out, an Institute of Directors report on EU social policies.

TOMORROW

Companies

British Petroleum is expected to announce, on a current-cost basis, a fourth-quarter net loss of pounds 175m, which will include a pounds 680m exceptional item for restructuring the refining division and reflect weaker chemicals prices which more than offset a higher oil price. The full year figure is forecast at pounds 1.1bn. The other main result of the day is from Reuters. One of the companies tipped to make a bid approach for Pearson, Reuters is expected to announce good final figures, with profits up from pounds 510m to about pounds 596m, which ought to confirm the company as one of the brightest investments in the electronic media market. Supermarket group Argyll brings up the tail of the Christmas trading statments.

Interims: none expected

Finals: St Modwen Properties, TR Pacific, Updown Inv Co, Warrants & Value IT

AGMs: Baggeridge Brick, Hardy's & Hansons, RCO, Titon Holdings, Windsor

EGMs: Gieves Group, Meggitt,

Economics

The Bundesbank president Hans Tietmeyer and EU commissioner Yves-Thibault de Silguy are due to make speeches on the single currency. Other statistics: UK new construction orders for December and January sales figures from the British Retail Consortium.

WEDNESDAY

Companies

Hanson, the soon-to-be demerged conglomerate, ought to have every incentive to produce strong first-quarter figures, according to NatWest Securities. However, the broker adds, apart from Eastern Electricity, most of the larger divisions will see no growth and it rates the shares as a sell. Lloyds Abbey Life, the financial services company 62.6 per cent owned by Lloyds Bank, is expected to produce full-year profits of pounds 390m. There could be merger benefits from its parent's takeover of TSB.

Finals: Eaglet Invs, Flying Flowers, Scottish American Inv Co, Vardon.

AGMs: Daily Mail & General Trust, Fenchurch, United Drug

EGMs: Innovative Techn.

Economics

The Bank of England publishes its Inflation Report and Quarterly Bulletin. The report will indicate the Governor's stance at the monetary meeting with Chancellor Kenneth Clarke earlier this month, after speculation that they clashed over January's interest rate cut. It is, however, likely to say that the Government will probably meet its inflation target in 18-months' to two-years' time.

Figures on average earnings in December, published two hours earlier, are likely to show a rise in their underlying rate of growth to 3.5 from 3.25 per cent. Settlements have now been drifting upwards for several months. The financial markets expect a small January drop in unemployment of around 5,000. The pace of decline is clearly slowing.

THURSDAY

Companies

After a solid set of first-half figures, the last six months of 1995 at Mersey Docks & Harbour were dominated by the industrial dispute at Liverpool and fears over any long-lasting implications for future trade. Full-year profits are expected to slip from pounds 33.6m to pounds 30.5m.

Interims: Armitage Brothers, Pantheon Intl Participations

Finals: CLM Insurance Fund, General Consol Inv Tst, Greenfriar Inv Co, Shell Transport and Trading, Ward Holdings

AGMs: Aberforth Smaller Comps, Chemex Intl, Electra Inv Tst, IAWS, Scottish Radio

EGMs: Cambridge Water Co, Farnell Electronics, Vibroplant

Economics

Markets predict a fall in last month's retail prices index. The year- on-year rate of inflation should decline to about 2.9 per cent from December's 3.2 per cent. This is partly thanks to the comparison between modest excise duty increases this year and the big increases last year. In addition, mortgage rate cuts will help reduce the headline rate.

The Bundesbank is not widely expected to reduce its floor discount rate after today's council meeting. But many expect a move within the next few weeks following recent grim unemployment figures, despite faster growth of the Bundesbank's broad money target M3. Other stats include US December factory orders.

FRIDAY

Companies

Full-year profits from Lloyds TSB are expected to show that mortgage margin fears have been overplayed. NatWest Securities believes that with significant scope for cost savings over 1996/7, the merged group's dividend paying-capacity is excellent. Pro forma profits are expected to rise from pounds 1.81bn to pounds 2.0bn.

Interims: Birse

Economics

The public sector borrowing figures for January should show a big repaymentof debt of around pounds 4.5bn. January is an important month for corporation tax receipts. There will also be proceeds from the sale of rail rolling stock companies.

Also, US industrial production and capacity utilisation for January.

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