THE WEEK AHEAD

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TODAY

Companies

Regent Inns appears to be benefiting nicely from a spate of pub acquisitions and recent openings and today's interim figures are likely to be combined with a bullish outlook for the year as a whole. Regent, floated three years ago, was one of 1995's best-performing shares. The company is expected to report a profit of between pounds 6m and pounds 7m this year compared with pounds 4.4m in the year to end June 1994. Regent's successful expansion record is helped by its location in the South-east, where leisure spending is recovering more noticeably than in other areas.

Interims: London Industrial (Q1), MR Group, PizzaExpress, Regent Inns.

Finals: Anglo & Overseas Trust, Low & Bonar, Rights & Issues Investment Trust.

EGMs: Caird, Hampson Ind

Economics

In Japan, the trade balance in January is show a surplus of $1.8bn following the surplus of $10.9bn in December.

TOMORROW

Companies

NatWest now appears more clearly focused in terms of strategy and on an operating level is turning the corner. Pre-tax profits for the year to December are expected to rise by 10 per cent to pounds 1.757bn and to be presented hand-in-hand with a 15 per cent increase in the dividend to 24.75p. The bad debt charge is forecast to fall but the figures could be hit by a pounds 100m charge related to Eurotunnel.

The winter weather will almost certainly have taken its toll on Guardian Royal Exchange and could cost the company an estimated pounds 15m for the second- half of the year. The company is expected to announce 1995 pre-tax profits of between pounds 280m and pounds 350m compared with pounds 298m in 1994.Some analysts believe that 1995 will turn out to have been a peak with earnings deteriorating over the short term.

Interims: Finsbury Underwriting, John Haggas, Kleinwort High Income, Macro 4, Medeva, Thorn EMI (Q3), Throgmorton 1000 Smallest.

Finals: Arcon Intnt'l Resources, Clondalkin, Guardian Royal Exchange, London Foraiting Co, NatWest, Sedgwick, SmithKline Beecham, Temple Bar IT, Unilever, WPP, Yorkshire Chemicals.

AGMs: Abtrust Emerging Econ, Carlton Comm, Eurotherm, Grand Met, Intercare, LPA Industries, Tolux.

Economics

Provisional figures for broad money in January are expected to show the annual rate of growth rise to 10 per cent. The City thinks the monthly increase in M4 lending will be pounds 0.5bn. Also, building society lending and commitments figures. In the US, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan will present the bi-annual Humphrey Hawkins testimony on monetary policy to Congress.

WEDNESDAY

Companies

Commercial Union joins a long line of companies to be affected by severe winter conditions, resulting in weather-related losses of about pounds 20m. CU's forecast pre-tax profits for 1995 are between pounds 453m and pounds 473m compared with a re-stated pounds 435m for the previous year with an expected 7 per cent increase in the dividend. The results include accounting changes in line with the third European insurance accounts directive which increase the 1994 profits by pounds 3m.

Interims: Middle Witwatersrand, Stoves.

Finals: Buchanan Special Emerging Markets, CU.

AGMs: Acatos & Hutcheson, American Opp, Apollo Metals, F&C Enterprise Trust, Hunters Armley, M&W, Turkey Tst.

EGMs: Cementone.

Economics

The main focus will be on retail sales. Following upbeat surveys of retailers by the British Retail Consortium and the CBI, the City is expecting an increase of 0.1 per cent in January, taking the annual rate of growth to 3.3. per cent.

Also, the minutes of January's meeting between the Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, and Eddie George, Governor of the Bank of England.

THURSDAY

Companies

British Gas will have welcomed the big freeze for adding a bit to the 1995 results but investors will be looking for some more robust reassurance following the group's recent decision to split into two in 1997. The 1995 results are expected to be flat at about pounds 920m - excluding exceptional items - with dividend kept at 14.5p. The company has announced a provision for the troublesome take-or-pay contracts with North Sea producers, which are forcing it to buy more gas than it can sell. There may be some progress to report on the efforts to renegotiate those agreements but the offshore industry is in no rush to help.

Interims: Frank Usher, Schroder Japan Growth.

Finals: Admiral, British Gas, Courtaulds Textiles, Grafton Group, ICI, Lex Service, Mercury World Mining Trust, Oliver Group, Provident Financial, Royal Insurance, TR High Income Trust, Trust of Property Shares.

AGMs: Goldborough Healthcare, Neotronics Tech, Siemens, Tiger Oats, Tomkinsons.

EGMs: Bettaware, Longdons Foods, Trafalgar House.

Economics

The second estimate of GDP in the fourth quarter will provide important clues to what has been happening to expenditure, in particular stockbuilding. City economists do not expect a change in the initial estimate of 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth.

FRIDAY

Interims: Ardagh, ECU Trust.

Finals: Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon, Govett Asian Smaller.

AGMs: Greenalls Group, Inspirations, Second Consolidated Trust.

EGMs: Headlam, Leada Arrow.

Economics

The CBI monthly trends survey will establish whether manufacturers retain the muted optimism they expressed in January about future output and orders. The CSO will provide a breakdown of the distribution of stocks and details on manufacturing investment.

In the US, the flash estimate of GDP in the fourth quarter.

Source: Deutsche Morgan Grenfell

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