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Hong Kong holds promise of growth for Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered's first-half pre-close update is expected to show the bank continuing on from its update last month, says Citigroup, when its wholesale and consumer banking units impressed.

The broker predicts that, apart from corporate finance activity, the group will see revenue growth across the board, adding that Hong Kong in particular "looks promising".


Stagecoach reveals its preliminary results and despite the transport group having risen nearly 20% since the start of the year, Morgan Stanley still believes the market's expectations are too low. The broker estimates the company's earnings per share will come in at 23.6p, 3% ahead of consensus, saying its bullish stance is driven by the performance of Stagecoach's rail business.

Highlighting that it is getting close to a net cash position, Morgan Stanley analysts expect the company to make a one-off cash return to shareholders within the year,having done similarly in 2004 and 2007.


Its share price dropped by a fifth after a profit warning in May, so investors in Keller will be praying for no more nasty surprises when the construction group issues its pre-close statement on Thursday. With the first-half numbers not being announced until the start of August, the update is expected to be brief but one area it could shine a light on is the state of its order book.

Liberum Capital says "industry overcapacity" has been behind Keller's growth in this area slowing, while the broker adds that "comparatives are becoming more difficult, the recovery is losing momentum and macro data is dire".

"With such a high second-half weighting and very limited visibility, we believe investors may struggle to look through to the sunny uplands," they add.

The pressure will be on Antonio Horta-Osorio when Lloyds Banking Group's chief executive, who took over the role in March, announces the conclusions of his strategic review. Those hoping for wide-reaching changes will be disappointed, believes Goldman Sachs, which says: "Mr Horta-Osorio's vision for the group will constitute evolution, not revolution relative to the current strategy."

The broker expects efficiency savings to be one key focus, while adding that Lloyds' wealth and insurance businesses - as well as the Halifax - will be "building-blocks in the group's future growth strategy".

Greene King is in focus with the pub group issuing its full-year results and Numis Securities' Douglas Jack believes the numbers should meet, and possibly beat, expectations. The analyst is forecasting a profit before tax of £140m but says that, although "the risk to forecasts and valuations are on the upside", management should manage expectations by limiting any upgrades.

Next week

Bank of England lending to individuals; US pending home sales. Eurozone CPI; GfK consumer confidence survey; International Monetary Fund leadership decision deadline; US unemployment claims. CIPS manufacturing PMI; US construction spending; US ISM manufacturing.