US announcements will top and tail the week

TODAY
With no major economic or corporate announcements in the UK, one would assume that trading will be fairly quiet. But the market has plenty to digest from the tail end of the previous week. Non-farm payroll and unemployment numbers are likely to dictate trading activity across most asset classes for a couple of days.

TUESDAY
Trade balance numbers are released. The market is expecting a reduction in deficit pointing to a further improvement in the UK economy.

Tuesday is likely to see a pick up in volume and activity. A number of FTSE 100 companies report full-year figures: Standard Life, G4S, Prudential and Antofagasta. The insurers are likely to impress after Aviva’s strong numbers last Thursday. Prudential could do particularly well given its strong presence in Asia. Politicians will watch for any hints of a move out of the UK.

Antofagasta could potentially disappoint given the volatility of copper prices in 2011. With its chief executive resigning only days before its results, Antofagasta seems to have been struggling to keep up with its peers.

WEDNESDAY
A number of stocks are going ex-dividend, including HSBC, Hargreaves Lansdown, Hammerson, Ladbrokes, Land Securities and Meggitt.

Eyes will be on the ILO unemployment number is at 9.30am. Currently at 8.4 per cent, market and non-market participants will be looking for a drop as a solid sign of an improving economy.

Full-year numbers from Tullow Oil will be watched closely as one of the success stories in the oil exploration sector. While the ever-increasing price of crude oil is likely to impact positively, Tullow has the potential to impress. Given its growing presence in Africa, its results could elevate its position as a major player.

THURSDAY
Economic and FTSE 100 corporate activity is thin on the ground today. A lack of announcements could mean the market treads water, so attention is likely to switch to the Eurozone in anticipation of employment figures. Although unlikely, any sign of strength will be seen as a positive by European policy makers.

FRIDAY
Again, traders will be watching foreign economic events to determine direction. This time it is across the pond for consumer price, industrial production and University of Michigan confidence data. The US economy has been recovering in recent months; market watchers will be keeping a close eye for further signs of improvement.

Manoj Ladwa, professional trader at ETX Capital, is running an open long/short portfolio using his systematic trading method and keeping a daily blog on its performance. To follow Manoj’s trading journey more closely go to: www.etxcapital.co.uk/manoj