FTSE set to dip as banks hit spotlight

MUCH of the rally of the past three weeks has been US earnings-led, but this week we&rsquo;ll have the chance to see how a range of UK banks&rsquo; half-yearly numbers go down. <br /><br />The overall diagnosis is likely to be one of recoveries in profitability, with concerns mounting over soaring bad-loan losses. <br /><br />Two of the likely winners, Barclays and HSBC, post their results today. The numbers may be clouded by various one-off write-offs and provisions, but we are expecting profits of around &pound;3.5bn for Barclays and &pound;2.9bn for HSBC. Then we have Standard Chartered tomorrow, Lloyds on Wednesday and RBS on Friday, with the latter expected to post a return to profitability with pre-tax profits of around &pound;1.21bn. <br /><br />Despite the FTSE 100 only having closed lower twice over the past three astonishing weeks, we see a mildly lower opening to the market this morning. <br /><br />For the week in general we may well see more of a yo-yo style performance from shares as we consolidate the recent gains. Wall Street&rsquo;s close on Friday, although positive, was far from convincing after a much better-than-expected GDP number, and some opportune profit-taking looked to be kicking in. <br /><br />GFT is expecting the FTSE to open down 13 points from Friday&rsquo;s closing level, at 4,595. The German DAX is expected to open down eight points at 5,324 and the French CAC is called to open down six points at 3,420.