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Investors will be hoping GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has capitalised on better tailwinds for the pharmaceutical sector in recent times as it reports its fourth-quarter results.

Analysts' expectations: "Given Glaxo's operating leverage on the relatively early and proportionally strong flu season, we can expect decent results from the company," comments Panmure Gordon analyst Savvas Neophytou.

"More importantly the company should provide the market with a robust outlook unlike many of its peers. We remain buyers."

He forecasts revenues of £7.1 billion, pre-tax profit of £2.1 billion and adjusted earnings per share of 29p.

Valuation: The stock is trading at 2013 price/earnings (P/E) ratio of 12.5 times. Although not the cheapest, the company has been through the majority of its patent expiries, big liability settlements and boasts a strong balance sheet.

WS Atkins (ATK) will be hoping to give its share price a boost with its interim management statement on Wednesday.

Recent news: First-half results in November were in line with expectations despite a challenging six months in its North American and Middle Eastern operations. There was a good performance from its Energy and Asia Pacific & European operations, while the UK was solid, helped by success at the London Olympics.

Analysts' expectations: Andy Brown of Panmure Gordon comments: "The share price has endured a bumpy relative ride in the past 12 months although in absolute terms it is near to a two-year high. First-half results calmed nerves and it entered the second with healthy work in hand along with higher headcount. Longer-term attractions remain but for now the shares look up with events so we are neutral."

Valuation: The 2013 P/E ratio is 10.5 times.

Wednesday 6 February

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