Economic week ahead
All eyes are on the Autumn Statement this Wednesday, as George Osborne, the Chancellor, is set to deliver a string of updates on the Government’s plans for the economy.
The Office for Budget Responsibility is likely to revise up its forecast for 2014 growth from 2.7pc to 3pc on the same day. Yet weak income tax receipts, in part due to low levels of wage growth, are likely to tie the Chancellor’s hands when it comes to any big giveaways.
Smaller items may include fresh measures to boost the housing market, along with the introduction of a new law committing the Government to balance its budget by 2017-18.
On Thursday, the Bank of England’s committee of interest rate setters will announce the decision of its December meeting. Experts expect the Bank’s interest rates to be left unchanged at 0.5pc.
Other releases in the week include key surveys of the manufacturing, construction, and services industries.
Monday December 1
Asset management group Aberdeen has been working hard to improve the fortunes of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), which it acquired from Lloyds in March.
However, the FTSE 100 firm, which now manages more than £320bn, took a hit to its share price last month when two brokers raised concerns about its reliance on a handful of flagship funds and its exposure to emerging markets.
Nevertheless, analysts are predicting a slight rise in sales to £1.1bn and pre-tax profits of £457m, along with further details on how SWIP is getting on.
Full-year results Aberdeen Asset Management, Intelligent Energy
Interim results Bonmarche
Trading update None
Economics Bank of England lending data, Bank of England systemic risk survey
Meetings City of London Investment Group
Tuesday December 2
Investors in GW Pharmaceuticals will be keen to hear more news on Epidiolex, the company’s cannabis-based treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy.
The drug has already shown promising results in tests on a small number of children in the US, whose doctors were given early access to the drug by regulators. It is now being tested on larger numbers of children across Europe and the US.
They will also be seeking news on sales of Sativex, GW’s single approved product, which treats pain in multiple sclerosis. GW received a blow earlier this year when Nice, the body that approves treatments for use within the NHS, said it was not a cost-effective remedy. Analysts expect the biotech group to post full-year revenues of £28.4m, slightly higher than last year’s £27.3m. Losses per share are expected to widen to 9.37p, from 3p a year ago.
Full-year results GW Pharmaceuticals, ITE Group
Interim results Park Group, Northgate, General Motors, Anite, Finncap
Trading update Merlin Entertainment
Economics ONS data on mergers and acquisitions
Meetings Capital & Regional
Wednesday December 3
Accounting software group Sage will publish its first set of results under new chief executive Stephen Kelly on Wednesday, though he is not due to reveal his plan for the business until early next year.
The firm is expected to bring in revenues for the year of £1.3bn, up about 4pc on the prior year and from a historical growth rate of about 3pc. Under former chief Guy Berruyer,
the group had been targeting 6pc growth next year but analysts are sceptical that this will be met.
Earnings are predicted to total £258m for the year to the end of September.
Sage, which is pushing into cloud computing as well as selling more bread-and-butter financial software, can be viewed as a barometer for business spending throughout UK Plc.
Full-year results Sage Group, Brewin Dolphin, Innovation Group
Interim results International Greetings
Trading update St Modwen, Ryanair, IAG
Economics Autumn Statement, ONS insolvency data, BRC shop price index, FTSE quarterly reshuffle, UK services PMI
Thursday December 4
Greene King struck a deal to take over rival pub chain Spirit last month, so the firm’s half-year results are likely to be eclipsed by the progress of this £773.6m deal.
The company, which runs brands including Loch Fyne and Hungry Horse, fought off rival bid interest from C&C to clinch a deal with Spirit.
Greene King could also provide investors with a taste of what’s to come if Parliament does go through with a proposal to end the beer tie between pubs and their landlords.
Greene King has 600 leased pubs with brewery ties, out of an estate of 1,900. Spirit has 450 leased sites.
Full-year results TUI Travel, Numis
Interim results Mulberry, Greene King, Betfair, DS Smith, Consort Medical
Trading update easyJet
Economics Bank of England interest rates decision
Friday December 5
Full-year results None
Interim results Berkeley
Trading update SThree, Air Partner
Economics Eurozone GDP
Meetings Associated British Foods