A NEW set of purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) are likely to reassure economists that Britain is still outperforming its major economic rivals this week.
The PMI scores are widely expected to show a modest gain from already reasonable level as firms pick up the pace. However, the acceleration is unlikely to be enough to prompt any action on rates from the Bank of England, whose monetary policy committee meets on Thursday.
Economist Howard Archer said: “The PMIs for February are likely to indicate that the UK economy is seeing some pick-up in growth in the first quarter of 2015 after GDP growth moderated to 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014.”
• Intertek – Analysts will be looking for clarity as to how far the firm is affected by the collapse in oil and gas companies’ capital expenditure.
• Manufacturing PMI – The sector is expected to continue to lag the larger services sector, but economists say the survey should have remained positive at around the 53 mark seen a month ago.
• Household lending – Net mortgage lending has been running below the £2 billion level for four months now and given the relative weakness of approvals recently, Investec believes January will make it five in a row. Its forecast is for £1.75bn, up slightly from December’s figure.
• Direct Line – Analysts at Brewin Dolphin say they are looking for an update on UK consumer insurance markets after the group reported an uptick in pricing recently. The insurer should also provide further details of the disposal of its European businesses.
• Taylor Wimpey – The housebuilder is expected to post a big jump in annual profits as the industry continues to benefit from good conditions in the new homes market. Pre-tax profits at the Buckinghamshire-based firm are forecast to jump 68 per cent to more than £450 million as it builds more homes at higher prices.
• ITV – The broadcaster looks set to be boosted by higher annual advertising revenues and profits even though its audience figures have slipped. The City expects the company to report a 17 per cent rise in adjusted pre-tax profits to £682m.
• ScotHot – Scotland’s biggest event for the hospitality and food & drink industries will be opened by tourism minister, Fergus Ewing, at Glasgow’s SECC. The two-day event will include the 30th Scottish Culinary Championship and the live final of the UK Barista Championships.
• Services PMI – January’s services PMI recovered half of the previous month’s losses with a reading of 57.2, and the indicator is likely to pick up further this time round.
• Interest rates – Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are set to make announcements on rates, although economists expect neither to take action.
• Aggreko – The first set of the results for the new CEO and CFO team of Chris Weston and Carole Cran is expected to feature a dip in profits at the Glasgow-based temporary power provider.
• Stagecoach – The Scottish transport group is due to issue a trading update for its financial third quarter, and following a slight warning on profits at the half year stage analysts are looking for further guidance on the how the UK bus and US businesses are performing.
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