What's happening this week

Monday

Keith Whitson announces HSBC half-yearly results. It will be interesting to see how the cantankerous gang of Scottish colonials in the higher echelons of HSBC are getting on lending money to the barely solvent ne'er-do-wells "serviced" by UK retail banking.

Tuesday

Eddie George pops over to Westminster for a grilling by the Treasury Select Committee, the contemporary equivalent of being savaged by a dead sheep. He is to report on the rate of inflation, which is in danger of running out of control at dizzying 0.5 per cent above the Government target. Populist MPs will urge him to stuff prudence and start printing pounds like there's no tomorrow (which for the pound, of course, there isn't).

Wednesday

Nothing happening. Just Cadbury Schweppes, Prudential results and other boredom. Stay in bed.

Thursday

Hanson boss Andrew Dougal will reveal full-year profits figures, and will thus have to live up to bullish predictions made earlier in the year. He's spent half a million on re-naming bits and pieces of the slimmed down and now extremely dull ex-conglomerate - a process he calls "corporate throat clearing". Hanson's main activity now is supply of hard-core building materials in America. But Dougal has pounds 700m to blow on acquisitions. He has already targeted the building trade in Malaysia - land of the Pergau Dam affair.

Friday

The Nationwide Building Society releases its monthly house price figures. House priceology is a notoriously imprecise science and the Nationwide has been markedly more optimistic than its rivals. Before Christmas the talk was of another house proce collapse. Then in January the Nationwide said there had been a rise in prices (1.4 per cent). But the feelgood factor is still a long way off.

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