Markets should get off to a good start

European stock markets are headed for a mildly positive start to the week, cautious ahead of some key events which could lure the markets out of their current tight trading ranges.
GFT is forecasting the UK’s FTSE 100 to open up 11 points from Friday’s close, at around 5,637.

The German DAX is expected to open up 10 points at 5,955 and the French CAC 40 is quoted around 3,930, up 3 points on the day.

For starters this week please note that US clocks went forward one hour yesterday. That means for the next two weeks until the UK begins Daylight Saving Time, many US markets will open and close one hour earlier than normal.

The number one event on traders’ calendars this week is likely to be the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision tomorrow.

Should Chairman Bernanke choose to omit stating that rates will stay low “for an extended period” then we’d be in for a shock reaction as the markets take that as a signal for upcoming interest rate hikes.

Also watch out for an event known as “quadruple witching” at the end of this week which can bring about increased volatility in global stock market futures and options, the March contracts of which combine to expire on Thursday and Friday.

Director, Global Dealing Operations, GFT