City Watch: Brian Tora of JM Finn looks ahead to a new round of monthly data

COMPANY results for the calendar year recently ended are now emerging thick and fast.

Yesterday saw HSBC publish its results, providing a stark contrast with RBS and Lloyds.

Banks have been getting something of a mixed press of late. What with bonuses, the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance and, in some cases, of investment products, they have become easy targets.

But it is not just the banks that have been reporting. As the days lengthen, so we will get a better feel for how the UK’s corporate sector is faring.

Not that this will necessarily tell us much about the domestic economy, given the international nature of London’s listed companies. Many of the businesses that go to make up our FTSE 100 share index carry out little of their trade inside the UK.

But we are close to the beginning of a new month, so all manner of other indicators will be appearing. Later this week we will have the benefit of business confidence surveys and purchasing managers’ indices. These PMIs, as they are known, give a good indication of how those charged with ensuring companies are fully equipped to deal with the opportunities ahead view future prospects and are reckoned to be an excellent pointer.

Of course, the bigger picture still hangs over investor sentiment. The meeting of the finance ministers from the top 20 economies in the world was hardly an unqualified success. And Greece lurks in the background, still able to upset the international apple cart.

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But if we can avoid dipping back into recession in this country, perhaps the second half of the year can be more comfortable.