Week Ahead

Inflation expected to fall again in boost for business

Retail, Multrees Walk
Inflation and retail figures are due out this week (pic: Terry Murden / dbmediaservices.co.uk)

Inflation is predicted to fall to 3.1% in March, and heighten the prospect of an interest rate cut in the summer.

Price growth has been falling sharply from the 11.1% peak in October 2022 and the latest figures, due out on Wednesday, should confirm that inflation is down from 3.4% in February to its lowest rate since August 2021.

The fall in inflation raises the possibility that the Bank of England will cut interest rates ahead of the US where inflationary pressures continue and unexpectedly ticked up to 3.4%. The European Central Bank held its interest rate last week. Inflation in the eurozone is at 2.4%.

There are figures out at the end of the week on UK confidence and retail which will provide further clues about confidence levels.

Among corporate announcements this week, the online fashion retailer Asos will use its half-year statement to reassure investors that it is bouncing back from its recent troubles.

It predicted a fall in sales of between 5% and 15% in this financial year, with a return to profitability and growth not expected until 2025.

All three FTSE All-Share recruitment agencies – PageGroup, Robert Walters and Hays – noted a marked slowdown in activity in 2023, especially in the second half, so their latest updates for the first quarter of calendar 2024 on 15, 16 and 17 April respectively could be particularly informative.

DIARY

Monday 15 April

  • Trading updates from Hollywood Bowl, Mitie and Ashmore

Tuesday 16 April

  • Full-year results from Ashtead Technologies, Next15, Team17 and Everyman Media
  • Trading updates from Rio Tinto, QinetiQ and Oxford Instruments
  • UK unemployment and wage growth
  • Chinese Q1 GDP growth

Wednesday 17 April

  • Full-year results from Saga and Inspecs
  • First-half results from ASOS
  • Trading updates from Entain and EasyJet
  • UK inflation
  • EU inflation (final reading)

Thursday 18 April

  • Full-year results from Keystone Law
  • Trading statements from SEGRO, Rentokil Initial, Rank, Deliveroo, Dunelm and Foxtons

Friday 19 April

  • First-half results from Lok’nStore
  • Trading statement from Man Group
  • GfK UK consumer confidence
  • UK retail sales


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