THE British stock market will hope to end in positive territory for the first time in a month this week, as a clutch of heavyweight companies publish third-quarter earnings.
The FTSE 100 Index of leading London shares closed at 5,142.1 points on Friday, shedding 2.52% or 132.9 points from the previous week.
The FTSE has slumped by 6.53% since October 4 when it reached 5,501.5 points – the highest level since August 2001.
But recent concerns about higher inflation and interest rates in the US have wiped out gains won the back of merger news and strong interim corporate results.
“Whether we are going to see a turnaround next week (this week) is a difficult question,” said Barclays Capital analyst Henk Potts.
But he added: “We still believe the FTSE is going to finish at around 5,550 points at the end of the year, getting back to the most recent highs.”
Among the energy sector, giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell post third-quarter numbers on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca and British peer GlaxoSmithKline publish results statements on Thursday, the same day as British health and beauty retailer Boots.
Investors will look to Boots' interim numbers for signs that the recently announced £7.0bil “merger of equals” with Alliance UniChem is a step in the right direction.
“We would certainly expect to see good numbers from both the oil and pharmaceutical sector,” Potts said.
Earnings reports and trading updates will be delivered also on Thursday by insurer Aviva, media information group Reuters.
Cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BAT) and Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton. – AFP
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