Banks to reveal bumper profits as QE debated


BANKS will be in the spotlight again this week as both HSBC and Standard Chartered reveal their fortunes for the year.

HSBC is expected to announce a £15bn profit – one of the biggest in the history of banking.

Meanwhile emerging-markets focused Standard Chartered is forecast to make a pre-tax profit of about $7bn (£4.7bn), despite the heavy fines it was ordered to pay by US authorities for violating sanctions on Iran.

Banking will also take centre stage on Thursday when Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King announces the latest Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) interest rate decision. The MPC is predicted to leave policy unchanged though there is expected to be debate about £25bn more quantitative easing.

Other economic news includes the Bank’s data on the new Funding for Lending scheme, construction and retail sales and purchasing data and new car registrations.

In the corporate calendar, Amlin, Bank of Ireland, British Polythene Industries, CLS Holdings, FBD Holdings, HSBC Holdings, Intertek Group, Keller Group, Sagenta Group and Ultra Electronics Holdings will all release end-of-year results today, while Tristel and City of London Investment Group will update figures.

Tomorrow’s full-year results come from Cupid, 4Imprint Group, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, John Menzies, Johnson Service Group, John Wood Group, Macfarlane, Meggitt, Michael Page International, Pace, Paddy Power, Group, PPHE Hotel Group, Regus, Rotork, Serco Group, Standard Chartered, Tullett Prebon, and Zotefoams. Abcam, Interior Services Group and Ashtead Group will also provide trading figures.

On Wednesday Admiral Group, Belgravium Technologies, Cape Intermediate Holdings, Costain Group, Dignity, International Personal Finance, James Fisher and Sons, Legal & General Group, Lookers, Management Consulting Group, Melrose, Ophir Energy, Sportech, Tarsus Group and Unite Group will give full-year results.

On Thursday insurer Aviva reports its first full-year figures under the leadership of new chief executive Mark Wilson. Aggreko, Avocet Mining, Balfour Beatty, Cineworld, Clarkson, Cobham, Communisis, Futura Medical, Grafton Group, Hardy Oil and Gas, H&T Group, Hunting, IMI, Inmarsat, Nichols, Novae Group, Schroders, SIG, Spirax-Sarco Engineering and Standard Life will also be reporting. Betfair Group and DS Smith are also set to update the market.

On Friday Aga, Headlam Group, HgCapital Trust, and Marshalls will give end-of-year figures while Sthree will offer a trading update.