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This week


October's credit business is expected to be pounds 350m, a fall from pounds 489m the previous month. Scottish & Newcastle will report flat interim profits as the European recession hits its Center Parcs leisure division and the beer price war erodes margins at home. Westland should show a 4 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the full year, as refurbishment work and a strong order book lift prospects at its helicopter arm.


An improved order book, along with currency gains and signs of recovery in its US markets, should help Siebe to an 18 per cent profit rise for the half year.


Acquisitions and a falling interest charge are expected to push profits up 13 per cent at Greenalls Group. More important will be evidence of its progress in absorbing the Devenish pub chain. High R&D costs will flatten profits at Sage, the software manufacturer, but new products and its link with Microsoft promise a more rewarding future.


US producer prices for November are likely to show a 0.3 per cent decline, after steep drops in the price of gasoline and fuel oil. Cars and clothing will probably show a small rise. Compass Group is expected to deliver a 19 per cent rise in full-year profits, as the contract catering market stabilises and its licence with Burger King is extended.


The UK's trade balance with the rest of the world is expected to show a pounds 9bn drop for October. Meanwhile, US consumer prices for November should reveal a 0.2 per cent increase overall. Pub grub and new openings should offset the tough conditions for Wolverhampton & Dudley, the Midlands brewer. It is likely to show a small rise in profits to pounds 36m.

Helen Kay

'I don't feel 60.' Brian Pearse, retiring chief executive of Midland Bank