Week ahead in business and economics: Jan 21 - 25

RELATED QUOTES

SymbolPriceChange
UL44.19+0.14
NBXB.DE0.00
FSTA.L970.00+2.50
E1:P13.SI0.1390.000
PAY.L1,145.00-18.00

Chemring, the troubled defence and aerospace equipment maker, will announce its full-year results on Thursday and update investors on any progress following what has been a difficult period over recent months.

Private equity (Swiss: PEHN.SW - news) firm Carlyle Group abandoned takeover plans in November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) after Chemring issued two profits warnings, unexpectedly changed its chief executive, and announced delays to production and taking on a major contract.

All eyes will be on new chief executive Mark Papworth, who was appointed to replace David Price in October.

He will be firmly in the spotlight as he presents his initial verdict on the business, its strengths and weaknesses, and the broad outlook.

Analysts said it will take up to six months to produce a comprehensive, long-term strategy, which Papworth will be expected to outline by the time of the first-half results in June.

The City is expecting a dip in revenues to around £740m last year, from £745.3m.

Pre-tax profit is expected to fall to £77m from £90.8m.

= Economic week ahead =

This week sees a deluge of UK economic data but the big event will be on Friday, when the Office for National Statistics unveils its first estimate of growth for the fourth quarter of 2012. Economists expect the economy to have shrunk by anything from 0.1pc to 0.3pc, which will mean growth for the year as a whole was zero at best. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury's official forecaster, reckons the final quarter will have seen a contraction of 0.1pc, as will the whole year.

It is unlikely to be an easy week for the Chancellor before Friday. If unemployment holds steady at 7.8pc on Wednesday, that will be seen as positive but public borrowing figures on Tuesday are likely to disappoint.

The International Monetary Fund also updates its growth forecasts and, while it is not expected to downgrade the UK, the picture is not getting rosier. The Chancellor will escape from UK scrutiny for a while, though, as he will be speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Monday

• Revenues at Pearson (NYSE: PSO - news) are expected to grow I0pc to £6.23bn but investors will be watching the education and media company's trading statement carefully for any sign that former chief executive Dame Marjorie Scardino's departure at the end of last year was a well-timed exit before a slowdown.

A number of analysts have raised concerns about the continuing headwinds in the US, where education budgets are under pressure. New chief executive John Fallon will also be under pressure to map out in detail how the joint merger between its publishing business, Penguin (SES: E1:P13.SI - news) and rival Random House will work, and the potential for a sale of The Financial Times newspaper.

Full-year results

None scheduled

Interim results

City of London Investment Group

Trading update

Afren (LSE: AFR.L - news) , Pearson

Economics

Bank of England trends in lending, Eurogroup finance ministers meeting

Meetings

John Lewis of Hungerford (AGM), Lowland Investment (AGM)

Tuesday

•Several analysts have a pencilled in a slight slowdown in the rate of lager volume growth during the third quarter at SABMiller (LSE: SAB.L - news) , the beer giant behind Peroni and Grolsch. Analysts at Berenberg Bank are expecting volume growth of 2pc, down from 3pc in the second quarter, as consumers remain cautious in key markets. Analysts at Citi believe tough competition and poor weather in China may have put a dampener on third quarter figures.

The group, which will see a change in leadership later this year when its long-standing chief executive Graham Mackay steps up to chairman, making way for chief operating officer Alan Clark, will likely be probed on its outlook for key emerging markets, amid fears of a slowdown in GDP growth.

Full-year results

None scheduled

Interim results

None scheduled

Trading update

SABMiller

Economics

UK public sector finances, CBI industrial trends, Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King speaks at CBI-Belfast

Meetings

European Investment Trust (AGM), Marston's (AGM)

Wednesday

• The consumer goods giant Unilever (NYSE: UL - news) will be one of Britain's first major companies to report its 2012 results. The consensus among analysts is for a 10pc rise in revenues and a 7pc rise in pre-tax profits to €6.7bn (£5.6bn). This reflects the growth of Unilever's products in emerging markets. Analysts at Panmure Gordon are expecting further growth in 2013 and forecast a rise in like-for-like sales of 5.8pc.

• WH Smith (LSE: SMWH.L - news) will be one of the last retailers to deliver its Christmas trading update, but, given the focus on the potential demise of the high street, the numbers will still be of great interest. Analysts at Espirito Santo said they expect the trading update to be "solid", with book sales thought to have been strong over the festive season.

Full-year results

Unilever

Interim results

None scheduled

Trading update

Biome Technologies, Britvic (Other OTC: BTVCF - news) , Close Brothers Group, Findel (LSE: FDL.L - news) , Land Securities (LSE: LAND.L - news) Group, Sage Group (LSE: SGE.L - news) , WH Smith

Economics

UK December unemployment figures, minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's rate decision meeting, IMF World Economic Outlook update, World Economic Forum in Davos begins

Meetings

AGMs: Independent Resources, Topps Tiles (LSE: TPT.L - news) , Redefine International, WH Smith

Thursday

• Low cost carrier easyJet reported a 4.9pc rise in passengers in December compared to the same month in 2011 and several in the City believe the carrier, led by Carolyn McCall, will be one of the major winners in the sector this year. easyJet has captured a larger slice of the business travel market, helped by the roll-out of allocated seating, and has also benefited from rivals cutting back on capacity. Analysts at Goodbody on Friday downgraded the stock to hold, highlighting the stellar performance of its shares last year, but added: "We do see further upside from current levels."

Full-year results

Chemring

Interim results

None scheduled

Trading update

APR Energy (Other OTC: APRYY - news) , Carphone Warehouse Group, easyJet, Fuller Smith & Turner (LSE: FSTA.L - news) , Invensys (LSE: ISYS.L - news) , London Stock Exchange Group, Paypoint (LSE: PAY.L - news) , PPHE Hotel Group, St James's Place

Economics

British Bankers' Association mortgage approvals data, CBI Distributive Trades survey

Meetings

Rexam (EGM), Smiths News (LSE: NWS.L - news) (AGM)

Friday

Full-year results

None scheduled

Interim results

None scheduled

Trading update

Covidien (NYSE: COV - news)

Economics

UK GDP Q4 first estimate, index of services

Meetings

AGMs: Henderson European Focus Trust, Infrastrata, Scottish Widows Investment Trust ,Petards Group (EGM).