Positive start to the week but a short trading session means no Santa Claus rally for markets

Stocks are expected to start the week higher this morning, reversing a late dip on Friday when a late surge in the US dollar took its toll on mining stocks.

GFT is forecasting the benchmark FTSE 100 index to open at 5,221, up 25 points from Friday’s close.

The German DAX is called to open up 29 points, at 5,860, and the French CAC is quoted at 3,812, up 18 points on the day.

So a positive start is on the cards but in a shortened trading week – many markets have half-day closing on Thursday – we can expect lower volumes, and although this has the potential to translate into higher levels of volatility, the more likely scenario is a tight trading range to end the year.

The dominant themes this week are likely to be, on the plus side, the general feel-good factor from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s optimism about a stabilising US economy, against the more bearish implications on the banking sector of calls for tough new capital requirements.

Global stock markets are finishing a turbulent year up 20 per cent plus, so whilst we may see some elements of window-dressing in the final days of 2009, we are more likely to see a gradual wind-down of volumes and a sidweays trading range to see the year out. GDP announcements out of the UK and US tomorrow may add some fizz.

Martin Slaney is director of global dealing operations at GFT.