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THE TIPSTER CHRISTMAS WILL BE KEY FOR TED BAKER

DESIGNER retail brand Ted Baker indicated that business has been good in recent interims as consumers reacted positively to its current collections. It has seen an 18 per cent drop in profits this year, but sales were up 19.8 per cent from this time last year. Ray Kelvin, its CEO, expects it to weather the current conditions better than most. Investors are of the same sentiment, but the key Christmas period will determine if that view is to be upheld. IG Index offers a March spread of 449.9 – 454.5.

It's been a tough 12 months for pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butler and despite the firm’s best efforts to counter the credit crunch, full year results on Thursday are expected to reveal a fall in profits of around 25 per cent. Last week the share price fell slightly to around the 250p level, but could there be further to drop this week? ShortsandLongs.com has a rolling spread of 249.5p-250.5p.

Regulator Ofwat is this week expected to confirm its five year plan, published in July, ordering water providers to reduce prices. For firms such as Severn Trent, which submits a trading update tomorrow, it could mean cutting dividends and trying to raise cash from shareholders – moves which are sure to put pressure on the share price. Spreadex has a December-based Severn Trent contract with a spread of 966.7p-973.6p.

London mid-cap MITIE Group, the facilities and property management company, will report half year results today. The stock had been performing well, although a broker downgrade at the end of September did lead to a degree of profit taking. However, news of the overall economic recovery should offer cheer and may lead to a more bullish outlook for 2010 being forecast. The current IG Index price is 237.5p-238.7p.