Oil giant and drugmakers take places in the spotlight

The Scotch Whisky Association will appeal the minimum pricing plan this week. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The Scotch Whisky Association will appeal the minimum pricing plan this week. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Oil giant BP takes its turn in the spotlight this week as the full-year results season picks up pace, with figures also due from drugs giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.

Falling oil industry profits will be in focus again when BP posts its latest figures after a gloomy set of results from rival Royal Dutch Shell.

But the firm could bring some cheer to investors if it can keep up the production growth seen in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is set to reveal an ongoing hit following a raft of drug patent losses, while GlaxoSmithKline continues to battle with the fallout from Chinese bribery allegations.


• Manufacturing PMI – The UK’s industrial sector is expected to have continued growing at a reasonable rate. A reading for the dominant services sector follows later in the week.


• Court of Session – The Scotch Whisky Association will start its appeal over the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a minimum price of 50p a unit, with the latest phase of the legal dispute expected to last several days.

• BP – Analysts are expecting BP’s fourth–quarter profits to sink 27 per cent to £1.6 billion, with full–year results set to decline by almost a quarter amid relatively difficult trading for oil majors. However, it will be judged to have beaten arch–rival Shell if it can meet or even exceed expectations.

• Ocado – The online retailer delivers annual figures on after a bumper year following its tie–up with supermarket Morrisons and a better–than–expected Christmas performance. Shares in the firm have surged by more than 400 per cent over the past year on the back of its 25–year deal to provide internet know–how for the supermarket chain.


• GlaxoSmithKline – Consensus estimates are for a 1 per cent increase in full–year revenue to £26.6bn, but the fall–out from Chinese bribery allegations will dominate the agenda.


• Bank of England – While there is no realistic prospect of a change to interest rates, there is a strong possibility that the bank’s monetary policy committee will issue a statement on its forward guidance following this month’s meeting. The European Central Bank’s rate-setters also meet, with a rate cut possible.

• Tui Travel – Some analysts believe that the dismal weather which has seen some parts of Britain suffer the wettest January since records began in 1910 may have spurred people on to secure their fix of summer sun, leading to bumper forward sales for Tui.

• Scottish Enterprise – About 800 guests are expected at Scottish Enterprise’s life sciences dinner and awards at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.


• Non-farm payrolls – The first US jobs data since Janet Yellen became Federal Reserve chairwoman is likely to be weak, due to the bad weather that has blighted the US.