First quarter results from drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline are due out at noon on Wednesday, with both sales and profits expected to be higher than a year ago.
The market is expecting sales to edge up to £6.83bn from £6.59bn last year, and for profit before tax to move up to £2.02bn from last year's £1.93bn.
"Current market expectations are for sales growth in 1Q2012 y/y [first quarter 2012 year-on-year] of c.4%. The market is looking for growth in each quarter of FY2012 y/y, a clear improvement from FY2011 [full year 2012] where most quarters were down," notes Charles Stanley's James Dawson.
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Geographic sales trends are unlikely to change dramatically, in Dawson's view, with Emerging Markets and Japan driving sales growth for the group, as they did in 2011, while the USA and Europe letting the side down a bit.
As for the growth profiles of new pharmaceutical & vaccines launches, last year Glaxo "reported sales growth spoof 47% for those new drugs and vaccines launched within the last five years and accounted for £2.5bn last year," Dawson notes.
Life assurance group Standard Life will release its results at the more usual time of 7:00am, not having such a large US audience to cater to as Glaxo.
Expectations are for assets under management to have risen to a mind-boggling £204.5bn from £194.5bn a year earlier.
On the macro-economic side, the big event is the release of the first stab at the UK gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the first quarter.
After GDP declined in the fourth quarter of 2011 a second negative quarter-on-quarter change would, by many economists' definitions, pitch the UK officially back into recession and no doubt deal a further blow to Prime Minister David Cameron's plummeting poll ratings.
The market thinks the UK economy may just escape that fate but the margin is paper thin, with the consensus forecasting being for growth of 0.1%. The picture is clouded somewhat by the discrepancy between official measurements of activity in the construction sector and the less buoyant independent surveys.
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Close Brothers Group
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Mcbride, Wetherspoon (J.D.)
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Crude Oil Inventories (US) (15:30)
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UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
CBI Distributive Trades Surveys (00:00)
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Autoclenz Holdings, Balfour Beatty, Brady, Centrica, Drax Group, DRS Data & Research Services, Fiberweb, Fidessa Group, Fresnillo, GKN, Greggs, H.R. Owen, Impax Environmental Markets, Invesco Perpetual UK Small Companies Inv Trust, Kentz Corporation Ltd., Kingspan Group, Lookers, Lupus Capital, M. P. Evans Group, Man Group, Morgan Sindall Group, National Express Group, North Midland Construction, Playtech Ltd., Portmeirion Group, Rathbone Brothers, Reed Elsevier, Regus, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Tesco, Total Produce, Tullett Prebon, Zotefoams
GlaxoSmithKline, Talvivaara Mining Company, Virgin Media Inc.
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