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Business week ahead

Several companies are reporting third quarter figures in a busy week for corporate news.

The specialty chemicals group, Clariant, is coming through with sales figures for the first nine months of the year. All chemical companies are suffering from the high price of oil so analysts will be eager to see the results. They expect an increase of around five per cent year on year. Earnings will be released in the next couple of weeks and are bound to be hit by the oil price.

The biotech company, Serono, releases its third quarter profit numbers on Tuesday. It's posted growth of between 30 and 50 per cent in the last few years and analysts expect similar figures this week.

The technology group, ABB, posts its third quarter earnings on Wednesday. Analysts expect them to be up by around ten per cent over the same period last year. ABB is said to act as an economic weather vane. If results are worse than expected, it is a probable indication of a slowdown in global economic growth.

Other companies reporting this week are the electronics group Saia-Burgess (third quarter profit) and the computer accessories company, Logitech (first half earnings).

Currency markets are likely to remain volatile this week. Traders will continue to focus on the euro and on the increasingly beleaguered head of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg. He was in hot water last week for comments he made about the possible circumstances of further intervention to help the currency. Analysts expect traders to turn the heat up further with more bouts of euro-selling.

by Michael Hollingdale

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