Muted gains for FTSE are expected with US payrolls

WHILST UK and US stock markets were closed for an extended holiday weekend yesterday, other global markets struggled to find direction in thin volume, doing little more than drift sideways. Greek troubles continue to permeate investor caution.

In out-of-hours trading, GFT is forecasting the UK index to edge higher, with prices suggesting an open of up 5 points from last week’s close, at around 5,943.

The unusual denial by the IMF that Greece had missed its fiscal targets, as was circulating in a rumour at the weekend, will provide a modicum of respite to the lingering fears over Europe soverign debts.

Looking ahead it’s shaping up to be a relatively quiet shortened week on the corporate front, but do be aware of Vodafone, National Grid and WPP all going ex-dividend – three FTSE 100 heavyweights which between them will knock around 17 points off the index on Wednesday.

On the economic front, all the major action is across the pond – where it’s non-farm payrolls time again.

After the previous number showed that US companies were creating jobs at their fastest rate for five years, the figure this Friday for April’s data is expected to be less rosy, with consensus estimates coming in at around 190,000 jobs.

The data release closely related to the nonfarms number – the ADP employment report – is out on Wednesday, and along with the ISM manufacturing survey and factory orders for April, there will be more than enough cues to trade, and we could well see risk being sold ahead of these key events.

Martin Slaney is director of global dealing operations for GFT.