While many in the City continue to top up their tans there is a flurry of corporate announcements this week to keep those still at their desks on their toes.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes publishes interim results after announcing a proposed £2.3 billon tie-up with rival Coral, while embattled construction group Balfour Beatty, property website Zoopla and outsourcing giants G4S and Serco are also due to deliver updates.
Ladbrokes’ plans for a merger with Coral are likely to come under the spotlight tomorrow.
The firms agreed the deal last month, though the enlarged group is expected to have to dispose of some stores to satisfy any competition concerns.
• Esure – Interim numbers are due from the insurer amid expectations across the industry that premiums are set to rise for many drivers.
• BRC sales monitor – The British Retail Consortium’s latest high street snapshot is expected to show pretty solid year–on–year retail sales growth in July.
• Serco – The scandal–hit outsourcing firm is expected to announce decent half-year results as its turnaround under ex–Aggreko boss Rupert Soames begins to take root. The firm said last month trading had been “a little better than we anticipated’’ leaving investors to breathe a sigh of relief after a couple of torrid years for the group since it admitted in 2013 that it had charged the UK government for tagging criminals who were dead or non–existent.
• Unemployment – There is expected to be news of a modest improvement in the UK’s labour market last month after a relapse in June’s data. Economists says that with the economy regaining momentum in the second quarter and uncertainty diluted by May’s decisive general election result, a downtrend in UK unemployment should resume. However, it is likely that the improvement in the labour market will be relatively gradual from now on and there could well be further disparities between the picture north and south of the Border.
• Earnings – Underlying earnings growth is expected to have improved. IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer reckons that annual average earnings growth (excluding bonus payments) may have climbed to 3 per cent, which would be the strongest increase since December 2008.
• Balfour Beatty – The construction and infrastructure group is set to publish its interims.
• Zoopla – The owner of the property website posts a trading update with analysts likely to focus on whether it has managed to stem a sharp loss of customers to rivals. • G4S – The outsourcing group is forecast to build on its first improvement in annual profit in four years when it posts half–year results.Thursday
• Aegon – Second–quarter numbers from the Edinburgh–based pensions group will be scrutinised to see how it measures against competitors such as Standard Life, which reported last week.
• Cineworld – The big–screen operator is expected to have benefited from major new releases.
• Construction – Fresh data should show UK construction output rebounded in June after somewhat surprising drops in both May and April. Economists are hopeful that the forward momentum will be maintained.