THE WEEK AHEAD

COMPANY NEWS
HSBC Holdings releases its annual results on Monday. It is expected that the results will show the bank to be back to pre-crash levels, with a dividend forecast of just over 3 per cent.

● Carrefour will report full-year results Thursday. The focus of the market is likely to be on management views regarding the possibility of listing Carrefour Property.

● When Aviva releases its preliminary results on Thursday, it is expected to show an improvement in the balance sheet and capital position, from a weaker-than-sector base.

● Media company Pearson releases preliminary results on Monday. It has upgraded its forecasts for 2010 trading figures and they are expected to be a very strong set of results.

● International Power will release results on Wednesday. These will be its first results since the completion of its merger with GDF Suez. These results will give some indication of the direction the company will now move in, but no surprises are expected.

Fresnillo, the large primary silver producer and Mexico's second largest gold producer will announce results on Tuesday. The results are expected to be strong, on the back of record production.

ECONOMICS NEWS
● On Thursday, the Bank of England will release its figures for lending to individuals for January 2011.

● The European Court of Justice will make a decision on Wednesday on the issue of gender underwriting. From then, the European Court of Justice could force insurers to stop using gender for risk differentiation.

● In the US, personal income and outlays data is set for release on Monday, along with the pending home sales index.
Economists expect personal spending to have gained 0.4 per cent for the month.

POLITICAL NEWS
● Voters in Wales will vote in a referendum on Thursday where they will be asked to decide whether the Welsh assembly should have direct law-making powers over devolved policy fields.

● Viewers will continue to tune into the events in the Gulf states to see who will be next to be evicted from Dictator Big Brother.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver his semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Tuesday and the House Wednesday.

● Friday will see the release of February’s US non-farm payrolls report.