House builder Barratt Developments is expected to issue a trading update at its annual general meeting on Wednesday.
Broker Northland Securities thinks particular attention will be focused on the site opening and sales rate per site figures. Barratt's peers have reported a stronger than expected sales period in autumn and this should be reflected in Barratt's statement, the broker believes.
The broker forecasts that the third quarter sales rate will be ahead of the preceding quarter by between 5% and 7% on a slightly greater number of active sites at around 380, versus 377 at the end of June.
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"Net debt is set to rise as the new sites draw down working capital ahead of securing sales and we would expect debt to be around £360m (end June 2011: £322.6m) with gearing of 19% (June 2011: 16%)," Northland said.
Turning to the UK economy, Tuesday's inflation figures were better than many pundits had expected, but Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn Douglas still had to write a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, explaining what the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee's view is on the future direction of inflation, and how long it will be before it moves back down to the government's 2% target.
On Wednesday, the market will get a more detailed view of the Bank's inflation predictions, as the central bank releases its Inflation Report. Many economists expect that the Bank will say that in two to three years time the concern will be that the inflation rate is below target, rather than well above it.
The Bank will also reveal its expectations for economic growth, which might give a clue whether the latest round of quantitative easing is likely to be beefed up.
Alterian, Hampson Industries, Harvard International, ICAP, London Stock Exchange Group, Speedy Hire, UK Mail Group
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