THE corporate diary is full to bursting this week with full-year results from a swathe of London listed blue-chips.
Banking giants HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland are likely to provide a contrasting picture of the financial world as profits surge at the former and plunge for the latter.
Engineer Weir Group is also reporting, with both revenues and margins in its oil and gas arm expected to be feeling the pinch – but the City is hoping for signs of improvement.
Analyst Rae Ellingham at Charles Stanley said: “For some time, the US natural gas price has been below the incentive level required to encourage drilling. But since November, the gas price has risen strongly, an encouraging sign, and US rigs rose recently by the highest number in nine months.”
THE WEEK AHEAD
• HSBC – Lower operating costs and smaller loan impairments should help push profits up by around a fifth.
• Ladbrokes – The bookmaker is expected to report a sharp decline in profits when it delivers annual results, amid concerns over the progress of its online offering.
• Weir Group – At its last quarterly update the Glasgow–based engineering firm guided full–year profit expectations downward, citing project delays in its minerals division and a slower–than–expected recovery in oil and gas.
• Standard Life – Attention will focus on the performance of SLI, the group’s investment management unit, which is expected to generate two–thirds of profit growth.
• International Airlines –Owner of British Airways is expected to have delivered a good recovery, with an estimated operating profit of €750m (£620m), from a small loss in 2012.