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Beware green shoots: the bears will still beat the bulls

THE rally in global stock markets appears to have hit a lull, with the Dow falling over 3.5 per cent last week and the FTSE taking a hit on the week for the first time in a month, down nearly 100 points.<br /><br />We&rsquo;ve a week ahead of earnings news for UK companies and any disappointment may well grab the spotlight and give impetus for further profit-taking. M&amp;S results out tomorrow will be watched to see how discounting has eaten in to profits, and a dividend cut is possible.<br /><br />Also tomorrow Vodafone reports full year results, and cost-cutting measures will be key after the mobile phone giant kick-started a likely price war by abolishing roaming charges.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s a particularly thin economic calendar this week, with tomorrow's UK CPI number about the only real event of note, with a fall in the year-on-year inflation figure to 2.4 per cent the consensus.<br /><br /><strong>PRE-OPEN CALLS<br /></strong>It looks like a shaky start to the week for European stocks with a dip into the red the early call.<br /><br />GFT is quoting the FTSE to open down 21 points at 4,327. The German DAX is called to open down 27 points at 4,710 and the French CAC is looking to open down 17 points at 3,152.