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Markets set to start on the front foot after strong retail sales and sentiment figures

UK and European markets are set to start the week on the front foot, with the momentum following the continued streak of better-than-expected data out from the States.

GFT is quoting the FTSE 100 to open up 10 points from Friday's close, at a level of around 5,271.
The German DAX is also expected higher, up 12 points at 5,768 and the French CAC is forecast to open at 3,812, up 9 points.

Friday’s reassuring retail sales and consumer sentiment numbers come on the heels of similarly surprisingly strong non-farm payrolls data, so the prevailing mood for many markets appears quietly positive yet unsettled by the chance of imminently higher interest rates, and the effect that such a move could have on any fragile recovery.

This week more US data will test the market's nerves, such as industrial production and leading indicators, and these have the potential to reinforce or dash the growing hopes that an American economic recovery has finally got its skates on.

The highlight for traders is on Wednesday when we have the result of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting. Whilst another no-change decision is widely expected, it’s the accompanying statement which will be scoured for the Fed’s intentions on the timing of any future rate hikes. If it contains the words everyone will be looking for, that rates will be kept low for an “extended period”, there could well be a relief rally.

Martin Slaney is Director of Global Dealing Operations, GFT