Economy remains in focus as inflation signs look benign

LAST week the markets were updated on the views of central bankers from both sides of the Atlantic. <br /><br />In the UK, the Bank of England published their quarterly Inflation Report and from the US we heard comments by the Federal Open Market Committee, accompanying their regular rate-setting meeting. <br /><br />Both presented a benign outlook for inflation. This story will linger into the week ahead, with the publishing of the minutes from the Bank of England&rsquo;s latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting, as well as inflation data from both the UK and US. No nasty surprises are expected.<br /><br />A quiet schedule for corporate news this week sees just recruitment Michael Page &ndash; which is due to report in London today &ndash; and British Land tomorrow as the significant points of interest.<br /><br />That means the market&rsquo;s focus is likely to remain on the economy. <br /><br />The highlights will be retail figures in the UK, plus housing data and Leading Indicators in the US. From Germany there will be the announcement of the much watched ZEW index.<br /><br />US Stocks, dented by worse than expected consumer confidence, rallied off their lows on Friday. This has leant a more positive tone to the week&rsquo;s open. <br /><br />GFT is forecasting an open to the FTSE 100 of 4744 up 30 points. In Germany the DAX is expected to open up 48 at 5357 and in France the CAC up 28 at 3523.