Results season begins as BT and National Express report

THE company reporting season gets into full swing this week, with a slew of companies issuing numbers including BP, Shell and BT to name just three FTSE 100 giants. <br /><br />National Express, the rail and coach operator that recently became a takeover target after losing its franchise for the East Coast main line, reports on Thursday and markets will be waiting to see if it snubs a rumoured takeover approach from the Spanish Cosmen family and private equity firm CVC. It may also announce a separate bid from rival Stagecoach with the results. <br /><br />The group, which is struggling after losing a key rail franchise, recently rebuffed an offer from rival FirstGroup. Motley Fool analyst David Kuo said the interim results are likely to &ldquo;make interesting reading to say the least&rdquo;.<br /><br />Oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell issue half-year results on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.<br /><br />With oil trading between $40 and $70 per barrel in the last six months, compared to between $90 and $140 in the same period of 2008, both are likely to disappoint markets.<br /><br />&ldquo;Their dividend payments should still be pretty juicy,&rdquo; Kuo said.<br /><br />BT Group, the telecommunications giant that continues to suffer due to poor performance at its Global Services division, is set to update the markets on its first-quarter trading on Thursday. <br /><br />All eyes will be on Spain on Wednesday with European banking giant Banco Santander set to report solid first-half numbers. <br /><br />The bank, which has largely defied the devastation of the credit crunch, has taken over Abbey, Bradford &amp; Bingley and Alliance &amp; Leicester in the UK and has nearly 2m shareholders in this country. <br /><br />Motor distributor Inchcape reports second-quarter profits on Wednesday, following its rights issue to reduce its debts from &pound;400m to &pound;100m. The profits are expected to be &ldquo;significantly ahead&rdquo; of the paltry &pound;20m reported in the quarter to March, but still far below those seen in the same period last year. <br />Gas firm Centrica reports on Thursday, with a cold snap in February set to boost profits at its British Gas Residential unit. The firm could also update on its &pound;1.3bn cash offer made for North Sea specialist Venture Production. <br /><br />Nationwide issues house prices numbers today and on Wednesday the Building Societies Association issues mortgage approvals figures, adding a distinct housing flavour to this week&rsquo;s economic data.