News due from energy pair SSE and Centrica
Neither of the two energy suppliers is expected to boast runaway profits, although that is unlikely to ease the political pressure on the sector significantly.
Closer to home, Wednesday will be one of the highlights of the social calendar in business circles as both the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the FSB’s East of Scotland group hold their annual dinners.
• Flybe – New boss Saad Hammad is expected to outline his revival plans for the airline. Investors will be hoping the summer months were kinder than the group’s first quarter.
• Consumer Prices Index – The key measure of inflation is expected to have moderated to a six–month low of 2.5 per cent in October, from 2.7 per cent in both September and August.
• Vodafone – Half–year results come amid speculation that the mobile phone giant could fall into the hands of America’s AT&T. It may not comment on bid speculation, but performance in its struggling European businesses will inform bid speculation.
• Babcock International – Government cutbacks are thought to be playing into the defence services contractor’s hands, so analysts will be hoping to see an improvement in its order book and bid pipeline, which were last reported to be sitting at £12 billion and £15.5bn respectively.
• Inflation Report – Despite the name, the key figures in the Bank of England’s quarterly update will in fact be the institution’s growth and unemployment forecasts.
• SSE – The Perth–based energy firm publishes its half–year results and analysts at Exane BNP Paribas expect group pre–tax profits to be down 19 per cent at around £321 million.
• Sainsbury’s – Half–year figures are expected to show the supermarket chain notching up further gains in market share, after rivals Morrisons and Tesco both posted weak updates recently.
• Scottish Chambers of Commerce – The SCC’s annual dinner takes place in Glasgow, with Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger CBE as keynote speaker.
• Federation of Small Businesses – The FSB’s East of Scotland group holds its AGM and dinner in Edinburgh, with a speech by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
• Centrica – The Scottish Gas parent will update the market amid a controversy over its recent inflation–busting price hikes.
• Eurozone GDP – Official growth figures for the 17–member currency bloc are expected to show that the outlook remains strained.
• Retail sales – Also official in nature, Office for National Statistics data is set to show that retail sales volumes were broadly flat, month–on–month, in October, after decent growth in September.
• Peter Vardy – The group will launch its new BMW showroom in Edinburgh at an evening hosted by Ally McCoist.
• The Restaurant Group – Investors have built up an appetite for news on plans to open more outlets of the firm’s branded venues, which include Chiquito, Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s.