Banks gear up to report on the first half of a tough year

The market&rsquo;s attention is likely to be dominated this week by the banks, which will be reporting their first-half results during the five days. But there will be plenty more for investors to sink their teeth into, with insurers, bookmakers and industrials all on the radar too.<br /><br />Barclays and HSBC kick the week off this morning. Analysts at UBS expect Barclays to confirm that it is &ldquo;business as usual&rdquo;, but notes that the &pound;5.3bn gain on the proposed sale of Barclays Global Investment to BlackRock will not be included in these figures. Deutsche Bank expects HSBC to report a $943m (&pound;562) pre-tax loss for the first half of the year, while Standard Chartered, which reports tomorrow, is forecast to report a profit for the period.<br /><br />Power station owner Drax also reports its interim results tomorrow, and UBS will be focused on the company&rsquo;s full-year guidance. Consensus is around &pound;300m, but the broker expects &ldquo;modest&rdquo; downward pressure on the guidance.<br /><br />Bookmaker William Hill&rsquo;s interims should reveal the effect of the company&rsquo;s rights issue earlier this year, with analysts expecting a small decline in pre-tax profit versus a sharp decline in earnings per share. <br /><br />Defence company Qinetiq will issue a first-quarter trading statement, which should shed light on the state of trading at its most recent acquisitions. <br />Insurer Legal &amp; General, miner Xstrata and engineer GKN will also report interims.<br /><br />Wednesday will bring updates from more insurers &ndash; Axa, Old Mutual and Standard Life &ndash; plus Lloyds Banking Group&rsquo;s maiden first-half results.<br /><br />Numis expects Taylor Wimpey to confirm on Wednesday at its interims that the market conditions have &ldquo;improved materially since the start of the year, feeding through to a strengthened forward order book and more stable pricing&rdquo;. <br /><br />Premier Foods will also update the market, and UBS forecasts organic sales growth of seven per cent.<br /><br />Thursday will see a Ladrokes report on its first half, following a disappointing trading update in May.<br /><br />Millennium &amp; Copthorne Hotels, Inmarsat, Cobham, RSA Insurance, Aviva, ITV and Mecom will also update on the first-half, while Thomson Reuters and Unilever will give second-quarter results.<br /><br />But investors are unlikely to rest until Friday, when mostly-nationalised RBS will give the tax-payer a glimpse of its performance over the past six-months.