US corporate news continues to rule

BEN Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, will make his semi-annual report on monetary policy tomorrow at 2pm London time. It&rsquo;s expected to take a fairly upbeat overall tone on the state of the economy, but the markets will be focussing on the implications of his thoughts on inflation, and the merest hint of a clue as to the timing when quantitative easing may end and interest rates need to rise.<br /><br />Outside of this it&rsquo;s a quiet week on the economic data calendar. UK Retail Sales are out on Thursday, where we&rsquo;ll see if the trend of growth can continue; the consensus is for a monthly increase of 0.5 per cent. US initial jobless and existing home sales are on Thursday.<br /><br />The real market-movers however will be the continuing second-quarter US earnings. And what a test for the market they will be: Texas Instruments today, Apple, Caterpillar and Coca-Cola and Yahoo tomorrow, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo on Wednesday, then Amazon and Microsoft on Thursday. The reaction to the corporate results so far has been favourable, but this week will provide a much truer litmus test. <br /><br />After the FTSE had its best week of the year, GFT is calling for the trend to continue today, and the call is for the FTSE to open around the 4,400 figure. <br /><br />But it&rsquo;s an area of strong resistance so a strong start today may falter. The German DAX is expected to open up 25 at 5,003 and the French CAC looks set to gain 17 points at an opening level of 3,235.