US to raise interest rates

 

A meeting of the US Federal Reserve's ratesetting Open Market Committee will set the tone in financial markets in the coming week. The Fed is widely expected to raise the key Fed funds rate by 25 basis points to 6 per cent when it meets tomorrow with many analysts seeing another raise to come as early as the next meeting, in May.

Closer to home British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown delivers his 2000 budget tomorrow. Analysts see the Labour chancellor resisting the temptation to spend, despite a bulging public purse.

Monday

Results: Broadcastle, CNP Assurance, Cox Insurance, French Connection, Furlong Homes, Future Network, Informa Group, KPN, MFI (H1), Nestor Healthcare, Prestbury Group, Schering, Taylor Nelson Sofres, Vestas, Wellington Holdings, Wolstenholme Rink.

A.G.M.: Fyffes.

Meetings: EU agriculture ministers meet (Brussels to Tues); Chambers of Commerce of Ireland conference on "How to Engage SMEs in Business" (Dublin Castle).

Indicators: EMU inflation (Feb); British building society lending data (Feb); US federal budget (Feb); Italian consumer prices (Feb).

Others: European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg questioned by European Parliament Economic and Monetary Committee (Brussels).

Tuesday

Results: Accor, Audi, Bouygues Telecom, Clariant, Cobham, Dawson Group, Delta, Dunloe Ewart, Glynwed, Hermes, Iceland, ILP Group, International, Johnston Press, Peterhouse Group, Scottish Metropolitan (H1), Slough Estates, Arthur Wood & Son

A.G.M.: Xaar.

Meetings: US Federal Reserve open markets committee meets; OPEC Economic Commission Board of technical experts meets to assess oil market supply/demand balance (Vienna); Aer Lingus group of unions conference on "Our Future" (Post House hotel, Dublin Airport).

Indicators: British retail prices (Feb) and motor vehicle production (Feb); US international trade figures (Jan); Japanese leading and coincidental indicators (Jan); Italian GDP (Q4).

Others: Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown delivers British budget; Office of the Insurance Ombudsman publishes annual report; Information Society Commission publishes report on "IT Access for All"; Publication of code of practice on transparency in credit charges for personal customers.

Wednesday

Results: Alliance Unichem, Amey, Barratt Developments (H1), Castorama, Celltech Group, Charles Baynes, Chelsfield, Gucci, Henkel, Kingfisher, Lagardere, Laurus, Linde, Bernard Matthews, McInerney, Omega Pharma, Quality Software, Senior, St James's Place Capital, Swan Hill Group, Swisscom, Weir.

A.G.M.: Corporate Executive Search (e.g.m.), Dmatek (e.g.m.), Huntingdon Life Sciences (e.g.m.), London & Scottish Bank, Mercury World Mining, Nokia Corporation, RDL Group, TotalFina.

Meetings: Irish Association of Pension Funds annual conference (Dublin Castle); Teagasc Outlook 2000 conference (RDS).

Others: Telecoms regulator publishes annual report.

Thursday

Results: Anglo American, Bic, Bodycote, Fortis, HypoVereinsbank, Jacobs Holdings, Kingspan, John Laing, Next, Scotia Holdings, Soco International, Telewest, Volkswagen.

A.G.M.: Crest Nicholson, Hill & Smith Holdings, Whittard of Chelsea.

Meetings: EU summit on unemployment (Lisbon to Fri); IBEC annual business conference (Dublin Castle); Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Enterprise and Transport hears Minister, Ms O'Rourke on rail safety audit.

Indicators: EMU balance of payments (Jan) and industrial production (Dec); Irish wholesale price index (Feb); British CBI monthly trends survey (Mar).

Others: ESRI issues quarterly briefing.

Friday

Results: Fortnum & Mason, Netbenefit (H1).

A.G.M.: Antisoma (e.g.m.), Gladstone (e.g.m.), Trust of Prop Shares.

Meetings: Bank of Japan policy board meeting; Brands Media Summit 2000 (Great Southern Hotel, Killarney).

Indicators: Irish retail sales (Jan); British non-EU trade (Feb); US durable goods orders (Feb); French consumer prices (Feb); Italian unemployment (Jan).