Trade figures to give more clues on UK recovery

AFTER a slew of upbeat economic predictions this morning, the City will be keenly watching tomorrow’s trade figures for further signs of a recovery.

Along with construction and manufacturing figures for May, the trade data should provide more clues as to whether the uptick during the first quarter of 2013 has managed to take hold.

But the real highlight of the economic week ahead is likely to be US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke’s speech on Wednesday, following publication of the Fed minutes. In the UK, the City will be watching tomorrow’s trade figures, as well as construction and manufacturing figures, to see whether the UK economic recovery seen earlier this year is continuing.

Meanwhile investors’ eyes will be turned towards Wembley, where retailer Marks & Spencer will reveal its first quarter trading update ahead of a super-sized AGM at the stadium.

The corporate calendar begins today with updates from RM Group and Bovis Homes, while tomorrow’s group of reporting companies – aside from Marks & Spencer – includes Interserve, SIG, Smiths News, 3i Infrastructure and XP Power.

Also tomorrow, chancellor George Osborne and Bank of England deputy governor Andrew Bailey are due to address the Association of British Insurers.

On Wednesday Barratt Developments, Booker Group, Burberry Group, Halfords Group, ICAP and UK Mail are all set to update the market.

On Thursday SuperGroup is due to give its full-year results. Meanwhile Ashmore Group, Associated British Foods, Avanti Communications, Babcock International, Balfour Beatty, Hays and Premier Oil will all be giving interim figures.

Last week Balfour Beatty, which has issued two profit warnings this year, was hit by a downgrade to “sell” by Liberum Capital analysts.

However the infrastructure firm cheered the market on Friday by announcing it had won a £121m contract for a hotel complex in North Greenwich.

On Friday Charlemagne Capital, Experian and Robert Walters will all give trading updates while the latest figures for UK construction output are due to be announced.