Week Ahead: Political concerns come to the fore

It is a relatively quiet week for scheduled corporate news flow, and with the General Election around the corner focus will increasingly be on politics.

A clutch of opinion polls are scheduled for release next way, plus there will be the usual punditry overload in the wake of the televised electoral debates.

Fund management group Blackrock has raised what it views as a nightmare scenario of Britain being ruled by a Labour Party that is dependent on the Scottish Nationalist Party for a majority in the House of Commons.

“Imagine a similar situation in Spain if the central government were dependent on Basque or Catalan separatists”, the fund management group suggested.

“This could turn the UK into a sort of pre-crisis Spain,” it speculated, and added that a Labour win would be bad news for the utility companies and banks.

In contrast, JP Morgan Cazenove last month did not quite come out with the old adage of “it does not matter who you vote for, the government always gets in” but it did suggest that the differences between Labour’s approach to deficit reduction and that of the Conservatives “are not so large as to call the overall pace or shape of the recovery into question”.

On the economic front, the big event in the UK is Thursday’s decision by the Bank of England on its interest rate and asset purchasing policies, although no one is seriously expecting anything other than an “as you were” announcement.

If the company diaries are to be believed – and they probably should not be believed – there are no company announcements scheduled for Tuesday.

Wednesday sees low-cost airline easyJet release its March passenger statistics and recruitment firm Robert Walters issue a trading statement.

easyJet recently revised its outlook for capacity growth upwards so it is probable that March was a good month.

Robert Waters put in a flying finish to 2014 so focus will be on whether the momentum has continued into 2015. Continued uncertainty in the Eurozone remains a concern for the group.

An fiscal third quarter update is expected from Imperial Leather soap peddler PZ Cussons on Thursday in which it may add more detail to the rationale behind its decision to buy out Glanbia’s stake in the Nutricima joint venture.

“This should allow it to be more fleet of foot in the dynamic Nigerian market and to consolidate certain functions within the rest of its FMCG [fast moving consumer goods] business,” suggested Investec.

Significant announcements expected


No UK company announcements

Economic: US – ISM non-manufacturing composite indexTuesday

No UK company announcements scheduled

Economic: UK – Markit/CIPS UK services; Markit/CIPS UK composite PMI. US – Consumer creditWednesday

Finals: Amerisur Resources (LON:AMER)

Trading statements: easyJet (LON:EZJ), Robert Walters (LON:RWA), WSP Group (LON:WSH)

Economic: EU – Markit Eurozone retail PMI, Eurozone retail sales. US – MBA mortgage applications; FOMC March meeting minutes releasedThursday

Interims: Matchtech Group (LON:MTEC)

Finals: Eurasia Drilling (LON:EDCL), NetPlay TV (LON:NPT),

Trading statements: Cranswick (LON:CWK), PZ Cussons (LON:PZC), Victrex (LON:VCT)

Economic: UK – RICS house price balance; trade figures; Bank of England interest rate & asset purchasing decisions. US – Weekly jobless claimsFriday

Finals: Biofrontera (LON:B8F), Huntsworth (LON:HNT)

Trading statements: Hays (LON:HAS), Vedanta Resources (LON:VED), XP Power Ltd (LON:XPP)

Economic: UK – Industrial production; Construction output; NIESR gross domestic product estimate, US – Monthly budget statement

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