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Dow has 11,000 target in its sights

After hitting new 21-month and 18-month highs on the FTSE and DAX markets last week, European stock markets may take a breather on the open this morning, in a positive but sluggish start to the week.

The FTSE turned negative for the first time in four days on Friday, yet GFT is forecasting the UK blue chip index to open up just 3 points from Friday’s close, at around 5,706. The German DAX is expected to open up 4 points - back around the 6,124 level - and the French CAC 40 is quoted to open unchanged on the day at 3,988.

Whilst traders here will be watching the FTSE to see if it can keep its head above the 5,700 level, the Dow Jones has the psychologically important 11,000 mark within its grasp having closed at 10,850 on Friday. Gaining the required upwards momentum may prove difficult in what is a shortened trading week for many markets worldwide due to the Easter holiday. The markets are closed on Friday when the non-farm payroll numbers are released but that momentum could still come from the private sector version of the jobs report from ADP, out on Wednesday. This is expected to show the first positive number since January 2008. If this were combined with a strong US consumer confidence figure tomorrow it may well prove sufficient to carry the Dow through that milestone.

Martin Slaney is director of global dealing operations at GFT