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FOMC minutes to take centre stage on Wednesday amid sprinkling of interim results

Investors will be looking out for any signs that the recent tariffs and rhetoric from the White House could be affecting the US economic and business sentiment
Federal Reserve
The FOMC meeting comes ahead of a deluge of US data on housing, jobless claims, and composite PMI due on Thursday

Wednesday will see a smattering of interim results, with infrastructure group Costain drawing investor eyes in addition to the maiden set of post-IPO results from cybersecurity Firm Avast.

However, many investors will be focusing their attention on the minutes of the latest meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the US Federal Reserve, which could provide insight into any concerns regarding current US trade policy and potential downsides to the ongoing effect of tariffs and a softening of business sentiment.

There will also be some US data in the form of existing home sales serving as a primer to the US’s new home sales, composite PMI index, and weekly jobless claims that are all due on Thursday.

Costain Group to build on previous optimism

Infrastructure specialist Costain Group PLC (LON:COST) will be aiming to at least meet the expectations set by a first-half trading update in July when it releases its half-year results.

The firm said in the update that it was on track to meet its full-year expectations as its order book remained unchanged from a year earlier at £3.7bn while it also maintained a preferred bidder position of £400mln and high tendering levels in the first half.

Investors may also be looking for any further information on the group’s latest contract wins including the M6 J2a-J26 smart motorway contract and Motorway Incident Detection and Automated Signalling (MIDAS) technology systems contract for Highways England.

Maidens due from Avast

Czech cybersecurity software firm Avast PLC (LON:AVST) is due to announce its maiden interim results following its IPO in May.

In a preview, analysts at UBS said that having delivered 9% constant currency, pro forma growth in the first quarter and having set a target at IPO of delivering high single-digit organic constant currency revenue growth in the year, they believe investors are expecting a broadly similar performance in the second quarter.

They added: “We are looking for US$408mln in continuing H1 billings and US$390mln in continuing H1 revenues, representing underlying growth of 8% in both cases.”

Significant announcements expected:

Wednesday August 22:

Interims: Avast PLC (LON:AVST), Costain Group PLC (LON:COST), Empresaria PLC (LON:EMR), Grafton Group PLC (LON:GFTU), Headlam Group PLC (LON:HEAD), Hansteen Holdings plc (LON:HSTN)

Trading updates: Proactis Holdings Plc (LON:PHD), Venture Life Group PLC (LON:VLG)

Economic data: US existing home sales; US FOMC minutes

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