The City's results season kicks off this week with figures from blue-chip firms including broadcast rivals BT and BSkyB and alcohol company Diageo.

BT grew overall pre-tax profits by 2% to £609 million in the second quarter, but analysts are pencilling in a slight dip in third quarter underlying profits to £672 million from £675 million a year earlier.

Most analysts are pencilling in a 6% rise in half-year revenues for Sky, to £3.8 billion, but a fall in operating profits to £586 million from £647 million a year earlier as marketing and content costs weigh on results.

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Meanwhile, Johnnie Walker giant Diageo reports half-year figures on Thursday amid a wave of optimism over sales to emerging markets after consumer goods group Unilever allayed fears of a slowdown with a stronger-than-expected end to its year.

Analysts at Raymond James Euro Equities are pencilling in first half sales growth of 3.3% to £6.2 billion, while they predict underlying earnings will increase by 4% to £2 billion..