THE WEEK AHEAD

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TODAY

Companies

MAI, the media and money-broking group, which holds the Anglia and Meridian television franchises, is expected to report pounds 109m pre-tax profits for the year to June. MAI's future looks uncertain in the wake of the Government's review of media cross-ownership. In the financials business, volumes and margins are under pressure. The broking side is unlikely to match first- half profits of pounds 15.8m in the second half.

Interims: Britannia, BSM, International Business Communications, Roxboro, SIG, Sharp & Fisher

Finals: Bryant, Hays, MAI

Annual Meetings: Anglo United, Upton & Southern, WH Smith

Economics

The figure for August's public sector borrowing requirement will be closely scrutinised for its implications for the Budget arithmetic. So far the PSBR has been disappointing, and City economists think it will turn out pounds 2bn to pounds 3bn ahead of the Treasury forecast for the full financial year.

TOMORROW

Companies

At Sears, another poor performance at Olympus Sports and British Shoe Corporation is expected to restrain half-year profits to pounds 34m. This is the worst result since Liam Strong became chief executive. Following the sale of Freeman Hardy Willis, Truform and Manfield to Facia, analysts will look for more evidence of restructuring. The Freemans mail-order business is a candidate for a shake-up. Selfridges is expected to continue doing well.

Good trading at Tesco is expected to continue as it announces half-year profits up 11 per cent to pounds 282m, according to NatWest Securities. It should also be able to update the market on the progress of its Clubcard and the potential impact of Somerfield's price cuts.

Interims: BS Group, Bowthorpe, Capital Industries, Healthcall, Navan Resources, Pittards, Vymura, Sears, Tesco, Watmoughs Holdings, Zetters

Finals: Compel, Domestic & General, Dorling Kindersley, Redrow

Annual Meetings: Gibbs Mew, Park Food, Security Services, Worthington

Economics

US housing starts (Aug)

WEDNESDAY

Companies

Interim results from electronic equipment group Bowthorpe, should reflect the balance of the company's portfolio. A slowdown in the US and European construction markets should be offset by growth in instrument operations, especially in the German Wago business. Analysts are forecasting half- year profits of pounds 37m compared with pounds 31m last year.

Retail clothes empire Next announced retail sales up 16 per cent and for its mail-order arm Next Directory up 27 per cent at its annual meeting in May. NatWest Securities predicts a 20 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 44.5m.

Timber merchant Travis Perkins is forecast to show a robust performance in the light of tough trading. Half-year profits should nudge up around 5 per cent to pounds 17.5m. Analysts also expect the benefits of the AAH acquisition to show in the second half.

Interims: Next, Queens Moat Houses, Tibbett & Britten, Tilbury Douglas, Travis Perkins, Unichem, United Carriers, Abbott Mead Vickers, World of Leather, Wassall

Annual Meetings: Asda, Borland Intl, Coral Products, Unitech, Williamson Tea, Tinsley (Eliza) Group

Economics

Minutes of the end-July meeting between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England are expected to show the Governor starting to back away from his earlier advice that base rates should be increased.

Another sharp rise in M4 lending is expected. The trend in lending and the broad money supply has been strong all year, and will be near the top of the Government's 3 per cent to 9 per cent monitoring range.

Details of Japan's supplementary budget, which is intended to rescue the economy from a return to recession, will be published today.

THURSDAY

Companies

Ann Iverson announces her first set of results since joining clothes and home furnishings retailer Laura Ashley. Much has been done in the changing of personnel but little in terms of strategy.

There is also a chance that the new finance director will want to clear the decks, which will make the figures harder for analysts. The hot summer made trading conditions tough, though at the annual meeting a like-for- like sales increase of 120 per cent was reported. This was achieved at some cost to margins. Analysts forecast profits of pounds 1.9m for the half year.

Interims: McAlpine, Isle Of Man Steam Packet Co, Blagdon, Camas, More O'Ferrall, MTL Instruments, Waterford Foods, William Jacks, Water Hall Group, Geest

Finals: Wyefield Group, Primadonna

Annual Meetings: Boustead, Mitie Group, Mosaic Investments

Economics

Non-EU trade should have improved a little last month compared with July's pounds 856m deficit. Oil exports will have recovered after maintenance of North Sea rigs.

The CBI's monthly industrial trends survey for September will provide clues about the extent to which running down unwanted stocks is depressing economic growth.

FRIDAY

Companies

Interims: Arcoelectric, Camas, Hi-Tec Sports, John Mowlem, Servomex, Herring, Baker Harris

Annual Meetings: Intelek, Norbain, Real Time Control

Economics

Economists expect today's final estimate of second quarter GDP to be unchanged at 0.5 per cent. The balance of payments deficit for the second quarter is expected to be bigger than the first. A healthy invisibles surplus is unlikely to offset the increase in the visible trade deficit.

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