Bank earnings to give initial lift ahead of UK inflation data and MPC minutes

Stocks are expected to start the week higher this morning, supported by the prospect of an improvement in the US corporate earnings picture after last week’s disappointing numbers from JP Morgan.

GFT is forecasting the FTSE 100 to open at 5,475, up 20 points from Friday’s close. For the technical analysts out there, 5,495 is seen as an important target for the UK index, as it is the 61.8 per cent Fibonacci level, so we may see resistance approaching this. The German DAX is called to open up 15 points, at 5,890, and the French CAC is quoted at 3,963, up 9 points on the day.

Today is Martin Luther King day in the US and many markets there will be closed or will close early.
We see European markets trending higher on the open this morning. The UK releases inflation data tomorrow, unemployment data and Bank of England MPC minutes on Wednesday and retail sales on Friday, but overall direction this week is surely to come from the US once more, by way of the results due from Citigroup tomorrow then Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Goldman could be breaking records yet again but with such high expectations already priced in stocks may struggle to get excited. The financials still provide the overriding steer but away from the banks, the biggest names to watch out for on the earnings front will be IBM tomorrow and Google on Thursday.

Martin Slaney is director of global dealing operations at GFT.