THE WEEK AHEAD

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TODAY

Companies

Official figures for new consumer credit in November from the Bank of England are likely to show a retreat from the previous month's record level. Partial figures already released by the British Bankers' Association suggested as much. Even so, the increase during the month is expected to be around pounds 700m thanks to the availability of cheap credit and a pick- up in spending on the high street. The Bank of England will also publish comprehensive mortgage lending figures for November, expected to confirm signs that the housing market is stabilising. The Nationwide and Halifax house price indices for December indicated that prices might have turned the corner.

Interims: Calluna, Ellis & Everard, Merchants Trust (Q3), Universal Salvage, Williamson Tea.

Finals: A G Barr, Inspirations, Treatt.

Economics

Full monetary statistics including: bank and building society balance sheets; final M4 and lending; personal borrowing; public sector funding; money market, sterling commercial paper and medium-term note issue, interest and exchange rates (Dec).

TOMORROW

Companies

The British Retail Consortium today issues its sales monitor, which will give the first snapshot showing how strong a pre-Christmas recovery retailers enjoyed. The BRC's survey is a newcomer. It is the earliest indicator of retail activity each month. The consortium represents 90 per cent of the country's retailers.

Interims: Bespak, Tomorrows Leisure, Universal Salvage, VHE Holdings.

Finals: French

AGMs: Carr's Milling.

EGMs: Clayhithe, Emerging Markets County, Havelock Europa.

Economics

Advance energy statistics (Nov).

WEDNESDAY

Companies

Dixons Group, the electrical retailer, should celebrate the new year knighthood of its chairman, Sir Stanley Kalms, with a substantial rise in pre-tax profits at the half-way stage. City analysts are looking for interim profits of pounds 44m against pounds 26.6m last time.

The figures are likely to be accompanied by a buoyant trading report which should include substantial sales increases over what has been a respectable Christmas period.

Interims: Sidney C Banks, Ewart, Fleming Intl High Income, Ryland Group, Savills.

Finals: Jersey Electricity, M&W.

AGMs: Fenner, M J Gleeson, Shaftesbury, UPF Group, Wigmore Property.

EGMs: Thomas Locker, Siam Syntech.

Economics

Britain's whole-world trade deficit is expected to have jumped to pounds 1.5bn in October, up from pounds 1bn in September. Changes in the deficit with non- EU countries - especially North America - have driven the deterioration in the trade position. It has widened to about pounds 900m a month, double its typical level in the early part of the year. The non-EU trade gap reached a record pounds 1.2bn in October, but already-published data show it declined to pounds 496m in November.

Housing starts and completions (Nov); Cyclical indicators. (Dec).

THURSDAY

Companies

Full-year figures from Lonrho, which is being radically reshaped by its new chief executive, Dieter Bock, will be watched with interest. The mining- to-hotels combine is thought to be considering plans to break itself into two separate companies. Directors are believed to be studying a proposal under which Lonrho shareholders would receive one Lonrho Mining share and one share embracing the company's trading and agricultural interests while the hotel business would be sold to reduce the company's debts.

Analysts are looking for pre-tax profits of between pounds 145m and pounds 150m against pounds 112m last year.

Meanwhile, Sir Philip Harris's Carpetright - the rapidly expanding carpet group whose low prices and high volumes have helped it snatch a 14 per cent share of the UK carpet market - is also expected to improve significantly on the pounds 8m pre-tax profit last time. Carpetright is opening new, larger format Carpet Depots with which it hopes to build the group's share to 20 per cent. The first outlet opened in the Thurrock retail park in Essex in September and a further two have already been added. There will be eight by next year and 70 within four years.

Interims: Cassidy Brothers, Coral Products, GGT Group, Jones Stroud (Holdings), Jurys Hotel, Matthew Clark.

Finals: Denmans Electrical, Robert H Lowe, RCO Holdings.

AGMs: F&C PEP Inv Trust, Manakin Holdings, Persona Group.

EGMs: BDA Holdings, Residential Property, Riverview Rubber Estates.

Economics

Total industrial production is expected to have rebounded in November after a sharp drop related to mild weather the previous month. A return to more normal winter conditions will have increased energy output.

However, the monthly rise in manufacturing output is likely to have slowed to a snail's pace. The CBI survey for the month showed a significantly lower balance of firms reporting higher output. Deutsche Morgan Grenfell predicts a November increase of 0.1 per cent, taking year-on- year growth rate to 0.4 per cent, lowest since the end of 1993.

FRIDAY

Companies

The CBI's distributive trades survey for December will bring the week's second indicator of retail sales last month, ahead of official statistics due out on 18 January. The survey also covers wholesalers and motor traders.

Interims: None scheduled.

Finals: None scheduled.

AGMs: Anglo Irish Bank, Loraine Gold Mines, Perpetual.

EGMs: British Land.

Company forecasts: NatWest Securities.

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