LONDON REPORT

A SERIES of heavyweight corporate results and significant economic data releases await markets this week, culminating with the limelight being poured upon controversy-struck Barclays once again.

Barclays will release interim results for its second quarter on Friday, with the ongoing Libor scandal likely to overshadow the banks’ forecasted profits.

Fellow British lender Lloyds will itself publish updated results the previous day, having last week made headlines with its sale of 632 branches to the Co-operative Bank – a deal that provoked criticism in some quarters for appearing significantly cheaper than expected.

Coinciding with Lloyds’ results will be those of the more modestly sized Arbuthnot Banking Group, while Allied Irish Bank publishes interims on Friday.

Also on Thursday, under-pressure pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca will reveal second quarter results, while its rival GlaxoSmithKline is pencilled in for a Wednesday publication of its own figures.

Media group BSkyB may admit to slower growth in its annual results, due on Thursday, although profits are expected to have risen.

Another corporate megalith, Shell, publishes half year results on Thursday. Shell last week appeared to walk away from the bidding war over Cove Energy, yet is still expected to aim for acquisitions to boost its presence in Africa. Tullow Oil releases its interims on Wednesday.

Miner Anglo American is set to release its half yearly results on the final day of the working week.

Other notable corporate results are due from British American Tobacco, and airports owner BAA (both on Wednesday), Man Group tomorrow, and real estate investment trust Hammerson today.

On Wednesday two pieces of economic data threaten to rock markets.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will post its first estimate of the UK’s GDP growth – or contraction – in the second quarter of the year, following two quarters of shrinkage.

Meanwhile the CBI publishes its widely-regarded industrial trends survey for July.