This paper investigates the clustering properties of Submillimetre Common User Bolometric Array (SCUBA) selected galaxies within the framework of a unifying scheme relating the formation of quasi-stellar objects and spheroids. The theoretical angular correlation function is derived for different bias functions, corresponding to different values of the ratio Mh(alo)/M-sph between the mass of the dark halo and the final mass in stars. SCUBA sources are predicted to be strongly clustered, with a clustering strength increasing with mass. We show that the model accounts for the clustering of Lyman-break galaxies, seen as the optical counterpart of low- to intermediate-mass primeval spheroidal galaxies, and is also consistent with the observed angular correlation function of extremely red objects. Best agreement is obtained for M-halo/M-sph = 100. We also consider the implications for small-scale fluctuations observed at submillimetre wavelengths by current or forthcoming experiments aimed at mapping the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The predicted amplitude of the clustering signal in the 350-GHz channel of the Planck mission strongly depends on the halo-to-bulge mass ratio and may be of comparable amplitude to primary CMB anisotropies for multipole numbers 1 greater than or similar to 50.
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