Data due out on Wednesday is likely to show the labour market continuing to strengthen. Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said: “We expect claimant count to have fallen by 25,000 in December to stand at 875,100, which would be the lowest level since June 2008.”
Meanwhile total average earnings are expected to rise by 1.8 per cent year-on-year for the three months to November.
“With earnings growth likely to strengthen as 2015 progresses and inflation being extremely low, workers should see marked improvement in their purchasing power, which bodes well for consumer spending,” said Archer. “The government will certainly be hoping that households’ purchasing power continues to improve through the early months of 2015 and this makes people feel better about life and more prepared to vote for them in May’s general election”
Other economic news out this week includes the minutes from the last meeting of the Bank of England monetary policy committee (MPC).
They are likely to show that there was once again a 7-2 vote in favour of keeping interest rates at 0.5 per cent and a 9-0 vote in favour of retaining the status quo for quantitative easing.
Retail sales figures, due out on Friday, are expected to reveal the knock November’s “Black Friday” discounting had on December sales. Figures are expected to show a 0.6 per cent month-on-month decrease in sales, following the 1.4 per cent jump in November. A three per cent sales increase is forecast year-on-year – half of November’s 6.4 per cent jump.
The corporate calendar starts today with a trading update from Thorntons and a production report from Evraz.
Tomorrow Dragon Oil, IG Group and Stock Spirits will update the market. On Wednesday Computacenter, Diploma, Dixons Carphone, FirstGroup, Genel, Halfords; Land Securities, SABMiller, Wetherspoon (JD) and WH Smith will give figures while Hochschild Mining will provide a production report.
On Thursday Chemring, EMIS, Fevertree Drinks, Ilika, NCC Group, Royal Mail, St. James’s Place, Safestore and Workspace will all report and on Friday B&M European Value Retail, Close Brothers, Henry Boot and Premier Foods will give updates.