FTSE gains limited by the Budget

EUROPEAN stock markets are headed for a positive start to the week, with the FTSE set to continue its current winning streak after closing at its highest level since June 2008 on Friday. However ahead of the pre-election Budget on Wednesday, any further gains are likely to be moderate.

GFT is forecasting the UK’s FTSE 100 to open up 10 points from Friday’s close, at around 5,660. The German DAX is expected to open up 18 points – back around the 6,000 level – and the French CAC 40 is quoted around 3,932, up 7 points on the day.

In addition to the Budget and any surprises that may throw up, we have UK inflation figures out tomorrow and retail sales on Friday, whilst from the US we have consumer confidence today, durable goods and new home sales on Wednesday but the biggest number of the week for all markets is US GDP (second revision) on Friday. The first revision saw the initial annualised estimate revised higher from 5.7 per cent to 5.9 per cent and analysts will be hoping for more of the same this week.

On the corporate front, there are some blue chip trading updates to be ready for, with Imperial Tobacco out tomorrow, and J Sainsbury and ICAP on Wednesday.

Martin Slaney is director of global dealing operations at GFT.