Week ahead in business and economics: Feb 4-8

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The online grocer Ocado posts annual results this week that are likely to show it has edged closer towards making a profit.

Analysts at Exane have forecast that Ocado will post a pre-tax loss of £1.5m, compared to £2.4m last year.

The company, founded in 2000 by three Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) bankers, has already said that gross sales in the 52 weeks to November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) 25 rose 11.4pc compared to the previous year to £716.2m.

Ocado is yet to make a profit since floating in 2010. The 2012 results are likely to be significantly below the pre-float forecasts set for Ocado for this year, which were £876m in gross sales and pre-tax profits of £12m, according to Numis. However, 2013 looks like being a key year for the company with Sir Stuart Rose hired as chairman and Ocado preparing to open a second distribution warehouse in Warwickshire, which should accelerate sales growth.

The City will closely watch the outlook comments in the results from Tim Steiner for an update on when the new distribution hub will open and when he thinks the company will make a profit.

= Economic Week Ahead =

A packed calendar will likely be dominated by the appearance of Mark Carney, the incoming governor of the Bank of England, in front of MPs on the Treasury Committee on Thursday. It will give him a chance to lay out his stall expect headlines.

That same day, the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee gives its latest monthly decision on interest rates and QE. Economists expect that once again, there will be no change in tack despite the economy’s recently revealed 0.3pc contraction in the last quarter.

Also this week, the latest British Retail Consortium survey of the high street will point to how much retailers felt the sting of January’s snow and ice, as shoppers stayed inside. The construction and services PMIs will also shed light on the health of the economy. Meanwhile, the latest economic survey of the UK from the OECD, the Paris-based watchdog, will offer a broader view of the situation and related policy challenges.

= Monday February 4 =

Full-year results Randgold Resources

Interim results Renewable Energy Generation

Trading update Creston

Economics Construction PMI

Meetings Future (AGM)

= Tuesday February 5 =

Oil and gas giant BG Group (LSE: BG.L - news) reports its full year results for the first time under new chief executive Chris Finlayson, who took over from the long-serving Sir Frank Chapman at the start of the year. Analysts expect BG Group to report “business performance” operating profit of $1.85bn, (£1.17bn) down from $2.15bn in the same period last year, owing to higher costs and exploration.

BP (LSE: BP.L - news) is expected to report a slump in profits in the fourth quarter of 2012, to $3.3bn from $5bn in the same period of 2011, as it feels the impact of asset sales. The sale of its 50pc stake in Russian joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft means BP can only count 21 days of income from TNK for the quarter, comparing poorly with the fourth quarter of 2011 when it enjoyed $1bn net income from the venture. Investors will try to strip out the effects of the sale for reassurance that the remaining business is performing and will also be hoping for some clues as to the progress of settlement talks with US authorities ahead of a trial over penalties for the Gulf of Mexico disaster, scheduled for February 25. BP can also expect questions over security after the fatal attack on its jointly run gas plant in Algeria.

Full-year results ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) , BG Group, BP, Low & Bonar (LSE: LWB.L - news) , St Modwen Properties

Interim results Allocate Software

Trading update Qinetiq, TalkTalk Telecom (LSE: TALK.L - news) , Victrex

Economics NIESR quarterly forecast, BRC January retail monitor, services PMI

Meetings Numis Corp (AGM), Victrex (AGM)

= Wednesday February 6 =

Britain's biggest drug maker is expected to signal a move away from Europe into emerging markets as part of a fundamental review of operations, outlined on Wednesday, to react to the “changed environment” on the continent. GlaxoSmithKline (Other OTC: GLAXF - news) is hoping to allay analysts’ fears over revenue declines that a refocus into emerging growth areas will help improve sales at the group, after price cuts in Europe last year were behind the company missing sales and earnings expectations in the third quarter. Last year Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive, said he expects to see sales growth in the fourth quarter, with overall sales for the year coming broadly in line with 2011.

The company is pinning its hopes for sales growth in the year ahead on six new products, including diabetes and cancer treatments, currently awaiting approval from regulators, which could generate significant sales towards the latter part of 2013 if approved. Analysts’ consensus for full-year sales is £26.6bn, with earnings per share at 111p. Overall, the company expects the total share buy-back to reach between £2-2.5bn.

Full-year results GlaxoSmithKline, New Europe Property Investments, Wolfson Microelectronics (LSE: WLF.L - news)

Interim results Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL.L - news)

Trading update Daily Mail & General Trust, DCC (Other OTC: DCCPF - news) , Grainger (LSE: GRI.L - news) , Quintain Estates and Development, WS Atkins (LSE: ATK.L - news)

Economics OECD’s survey of UK economy

Meetings Daily Mail & General Trust (AGM), Grainger (AGM)

= Thursday February 7 =

Investors will be looking for fresh information on Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L - news) ’s operations in southern Europe when the group updates the market on its third quarter. The region has been a weak spot for the company for some time as cash-strapped customers cut their mobile phone usage, with Vodafone writing-down the value of its units in Italy and Spain by £5.9bn in November. In addition, shareholders want an update on the group’s long-running $2.6bn tax dispute in India. Deutsche Bank (Xetra: 514000 - news) expects Vodafone to report a 90 basis-point fall in organic service revenue growth to 2.3pc, with the company facing headwinds from the tough economic environment, competition from rivals, and regulation.

Full-year results Beazley (LSE: BEZ.L - news) , Ocado, Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN.L - news)

Interim results McBride

Trading update Avon Rubber, Bellway (LSE: BWY.L - news) , Compass Group (Other OTC: CMPGF - news) , ICAP (LSE: IAP.L - news) , SuperGroup (LSE: SGP.L - news) , Thomas Cook Group, TUI Travel (LSE: TT.L - news) , Vodafone

Economics Mark Carney appears before Treasury Committee, Bank’s MPC (KOSDAQ: 050540.KQ - news) decision, December trade, industrial production and manufacturing output

Meetings Avon Rubber (AGM), Compass Group (AGM), Paragon (AGM), Thomas Cook (AGM), TUI Travel (AGM)

= Friday February 8 =

Full-year results None scheduled

Interim results None scheduled

Trading update Shaftesbury (LSE: SHB.L - news) , Workspace Group (LSE: WKP.L - news)

Economics Construction output figures

Meetings Shaftesbury (AGM)