Inflation will be in focus on Tuesday, not only because of the release of August's consumer price index (CPI) data, but also because of the publication of the minutes of the Consumer Prices Advisory Committee (CPAC) meeting.
"The results of the CPAC discussions are widely anticipated in UK inflation related markets. The most substantial issue is the possible change in formula used to calculate RPI [retail price index]: a change that could shave up to 90bps [nine-tenths of a percentage point] off the annual RPI inflation rate, depending on how widely alterations are made," Credit Suisse said.
Peel Hunt's Ian Williams, meanwhile, predicted: "The August CPI data should see the downward path in headline inflation resume after the unexpected blip higher in July, while the retail sales numbers may only add to the confusion over the impact of the Olympics on broader UK economic activity."
Market consensus is for CPI inflation to ease to 2.5% year-on-year (y/y) from 2.6% in July, and for RPI inflation to fall to 3.1% y/y from 3.2%, despite higher petrol prices.
That might be about as good as it gets for a while, according to Barclays. "We do not expect inflation to fall significantly below this level in the near term, owing to pressures from higher global oil prices
and expected increases in utility prices later in the year."
Contract wins from house-building and construction firm Galliford Try have been trickling out steadily in September. Too late, of course, to affect results for the year to 30th June, to be announced on Tuesday.
Panure Gordon expects the group to "report an extremely strong performance within its housebuilding operations, whilst construction, although difficult, is likely to have outperformed the wider industry."
According to Panmure Gordon, "dividend growth will also be a key theme of results, with the group set to almost double its dividend payment in the year." Panmure Gordon's guess is that the full-year divi will be hiked to 30p.
The broker has pencilled in a figure of 2,788 for the number of units completed in the year, and predicts an average selling price of £214,781.
"Net margins are also likely to have shown considerable improvement to 11.7% ... as the group feels the benefit of the large amount of new land purchased post-2009," the broker predicted.
"In Construction, we expect a 3.9% decline in revenues whilst margins are likely to fall by 30bps [3/10 of a percentage point] (to 2.1%) reflecting the difficult market conditions," Panmure Gordon suggested.
The same broker has been previewing the trading statement from department store group Debenhams, which will cover the final 10 weeks of the fiscal year, which runs to the end of August.
The broker predicts gross transaction value growth of 2.7% y/y for the whole year, representing an acceleration from the 2.2% growth seen in the first 42 weeks. Like-for-like sales are tipped to have risen by 1.3% y/y, which is again an improvement on the 42-week number (+1.2%). This implies 1.7% y/y growth in like-for-like (LFL) sales in the final 10 weeks of the fiscal year.
"There is undoubtedly some read across to be made from the disappointing statement on current trading from Next last Thursday, though Debenhams' exposure to the beauty category offers it some protection," Panmure Gordon believes.
Peel Hunt is a bit more vague with its LFL sales forecast. "We expect LFL sales for the final 10 weeks to remain positive, but slower than the previous quarter, at 1.5 - 2%."
Good Energy Group, Surgical Innovations Group, Work Group
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Capital & Counties Properties , Mondi
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Balance of Payments (US) (13:30)
Current Account (US) (13:30)
New Car Registrations (EU) (10:00)
ZEW Survey (EU) (10:00)
ZEW Survey (GER) (10:00)
Galliford Try, Wilmington Group
Mortice Ltd. (DI), Vectura Group
UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Consumer Price Index (09:30)
Retail Price Index (09:30)