FTSE is likely to dip

THE FTSE 100 index finished down around 50 points on the week last week; not a significant drop but the momentum is to the down-side as the blue chip UK index failed to hold a rally above 6,000 earlier in the session, and slumped on renewed global economic growth doubts and continued pressure on commodity stocks.

Additionally, news that the chief of the IMF has been arrested could well add to worries that critical debt restructuring negotiations will be subject to at minimum short-term disruption.

GFT is quoting the FTSE 100 index to open down 12 points from Friday’s close, at a level of 5,913. Elsewhere in Europe the German Dax is called to open down 15 points at 7,388, and the French CAC is quoted down 8 points to open at 4,010.

In addition to the uncertainty which will be generated around Europe from the IMF's Strauss-Kohn affair, the markets are likely to be somewhat edgy ahead of a barrage of economic data, including inflation reports, unemployment data, retail sales and the minutes from the latest Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting two weeks ago.

UK consumer price inflation fell to 4 per cent in March, but according to the Bank’s very own inflation report, is on track to be close to 5 per cent by the end of the year.

The forecast is for the annual data out tomorrow to show an increase to 4.2 per cent in April.

More meeting minutes to grab traders’ attention are scheduled for Wednesday evening, when those of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting are released, although any surprises should be in short shrift as the last FOMC decision was followed by Ben Bernanke’s decision to hold the first ever post-decision news conference to add greater transparency.

Martin Slaney is director of global dealing operations for GFT.