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Friday preview: US data, Wetherspoon's in the spotlight

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Thursday 15 Mar 2018

LONDON (ShareCast) - (ShareCast News) - With next week's US central bank policy meeting looming ever closer, the focus at the end of the week will again be on a raft of economic indicators.
Among those will be readings on housing starts and industrial production for the month of February, together with the preliminary findings of the University of Michigan's consumer confidence gauge for March.

Investors will also be faced with the quarterly expiry of equity and index futures Stateside.

In the euro area meanwhile, the only major economic release will be Eurostat's final reading on euro area consumer prices for February.

No major economic releases are scheduled to be published in the UK.

The corporate news-flow will also subside at the end of the week, with pub-owner Wetherspoon's being the only FTSE 350 firm due to update the markets.

The company has already revealed total revenue growth of 4.3%, with like-for-like sales up 6.0% in the second quarter and 6.1% in the first. The cheap and cheerful pub operator did not give an update on its profit margins, as it usually does, but just that underlying profit before tax was ahead of expectations.

Morgan Stanley forecasts half-year EBIT up 11% to 72m, PBT up 15% to 59m and adjusted EPS up 21% to 41.6p. "We expect the company to announce an interim dividend of 4.0p (flat) and 12.0p for the full year (flat), implying a dividend yield of 1.0%, with the focus remaining buybacks and freehold reversions," analysts wrote, with 51m and 15m respectively mentioned at the past trading update.

Friday March 16

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Building Permits (US) (12:30)

Capacity Utilisation (US) (13:15)

Consumer Price Index (EU) (10:00)

Housing Starts (US) (12:30)

U. of Michigan Confidence (Prelim) (US) (14:00)

Wholesale Price Index (GER) (07:00)

FINALS

Capital Drilling Ltd. (DI), Cloudbuy

INTERIMS

Wetherspoon (J.D.)

ANNUAL REPORT

Costain Group, Schroders, Schroders (Non-Voting), Silence Therapeutics, Stratex International

SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Hargreave Hale AIM VCT 2

EGMS

Datang International Power Generation Co Ltd., Stanley Gibbons Group

AGMS

LG Electronics Inc GDS (Reg S), Spitfire Oil Ltd. (DI)

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Avon Rubber, Impax Asset Management Group, Sanderson Group

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Aberdeen Private Equity Fund Ltd. Sterling Part Shares, City of London Investment Group, Conviviality, Downing Four VCT DP2011 Low Carb, Downing Four VCT DP67 , Gateley (Holdings) , Motorpoint Group, SSE

QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE

Carnival