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The week ahead: US-China tariffs, central bank rate decisions, UK & US Q4 GDP

Our Chief Market Analyst, Michael Hewson, provides his thoughts and analysis on this week's events.

View his week ahead video, the top stories for this week, plus our key company earnings schedule. Michael looks back at this week’s declines in equity markets, the central bank rate decisions, and a looks ahead to UK and US Q4 GDP.

Ladbrokes Coral full-year results (Unconfirmed)
Tuesday: Recent publicity about a crackdown on betting terminals has seen the share prices of bookmakers come under a cloud over the past few months. Ladbrokes has withstood this better than most due to a decent performance from its sports betting business, which has recorded respectable outperformance on revenues in recent quarters. With a summer of sport on the horizon, including the World Cup, and a recent decision by the gambling regulator to water down proposals to reduce maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals, things might continue to improve.

AG Barr full-year results
Tuesday: With the sugar tax due to come into effect next month, the Irn Bru maker recently changed its recipe to some fairly mixed reviews from its longer-standing fans. The change, while criticised in some quarters, doesn’t appear to have hurt AG Barr’s recent numbers, which saw a 7.5% jump in revenue earlier this year. Some of this improvement can be attributed to new product launches like Rubicon Spring, but the increase may also be down to some consumers stockpiling stocks of the old Irn Bru before the recipe change. While this may have brought forward some consumption, the real test will come in the next few months.  

Monsanto Q2 results
Wednesday: The US seeds and GM foods company, Monsanto, has been in a long-standing $66bn tap dance with Germany’s Bayer, as management try and push the merger through various regulatory hurdles on both sides of the Atlantic. Earlier this month the share price dropped sharply after US regulators put new hurdles in its path. The EU gave the merger the green light this week, though given its discomfort over GM foods, the approval is conditional. The underlying business appears to be doing well despite all the background noise.

Walgreens Boots Q2 results
Wednesday: There is another consolidation story here with Walgreens Boots’ recent bid for AmerisourceBergen, which may have been prompted by Amazon’s recent announcement of a foray into the US healthcare sector. The move appears to be coming from a position of weakness if its recent Q1 update is any guide, after profit fell by 22% in the last quarter. Same-store sales fell for the sixth quarter in a row, which when combined with falling margins are a concern. This trend could continue if Amazon has its way, though we might see a profit boost from the recent tax changes by the US government. Given the size of its store footprint though, there may be some closures ahead.

UK GDP Q4 final
Thursday: Recent economic data has suggested that the UK economy may have had a slow start this year after a strong end to 2017. This week’s final Q4 revision of the UK economy is expected to confirm a fairly decent end to the year with annualised growth of 1.4%. Recent revisions could see this number adjusted higher, which would support the argument for further rate increases in the months ahead. 

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See this week's details
Monday 26 MarchResults
JKX Oil & Gas (UK)Full-year
Tuesday 27 MarchResults
Ladbrokes Coral (UK)Full-year
AG Barr (UK)Full-year
Atlas Financial Holdings (US)Q4 
FactSet Research Systems (US)Q2 
Francesca's Holdings (US)Q4 
GAME Digital (UK)Half-year
McCormick & Co (US)Q1 
Shoe Carnival (US)Q4 
Sonic (US)Q2 
Wednesday 28 MarchResults
Anglo Pacific Group (UK)Full-year
DFS Furniture (UK)Half-year
GameStop (US)Q4 
Hilton Food Group (UK)Full-year
Monsanto (US)Q2
OMNOVA Solutions (US)Q1
Oxford Industries (US)Q4
UniFirst (US)Q2
Walgreens Boots Alliance (US)Q2
Thursday 29 MarchResults
AngioDynamics (US)Q3
BowLeven (UK)Half-year
Chesnara (UK)Full-year
Constellation Brands (US)Q4 
Science Applications International (US)Q4
Titan Machinery (US)Q4
Worthington Industries (US)Q3
Friday 30 MarchResults
No major US or UK companies reporting 

Company announcements are subject to change. All the events listed above were correct at the time of writing.

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