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US earnings rut could be at an end

Though today is Columbus Day, a public holiday in the US, most of its markets are trading regular hours. This week is going to be defined by US corporate earnings. <br /><br />Tomorrow we have Intel and Johnson &amp; Johnson, JP Morgan Chase is on Wednesday; on Thursday Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Google and IBM are all due and on Friday there&rsquo;s Bank of America and General Electric. The financial sector will surely receive the most attention but watch out for good up-side earnings surprises from Intel and Google who, along with Goldman, may form the defining moments of this earnings season, with profit increases which may well signal the end of the longest US earnings recession in history. <br /><br />There&rsquo;s plenty of macro-economic data to keep us busy too, including the minutes from the September FOMC meeting on Wednesday, UK inflation data out tomorrow and the US and Eurozone on Thursday. Other key economic releases from the US are retail sales on Wednesday, and industrial production and the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey on Friday. <br /><br />GFT is forecasting the markets to start the week in positive mood, anticipating the potentially bullish corporate numbers due out later in the week. In grey market trading the FTSE 100 index is called to open 15 points higher than Friday&rsquo;s close, at 5,176. The French CAC 40 is expected to notch a few points higher at 3,803 and the German DAX 40&rsquo;s opening level is quoted at 5,727, up 16 points. Martin Slaney is head of derivatives at GFT Global Markets.<br />