• On Monday, investors will be keen to hear EnQuest’s view on the recent tax rise for North Sea producers that was included in last week’s Budget. The steady rise in oil prices should ensure a solid set of results. Future strategy and any change in production targets may have a further impact.
• M&S will release its year end trading statement on Wednesday. M&S has been affected by weak UK retail sales in Jan/Feb, and it is believed that it will suffer in the food and clothing markets despite the relatively more robust finances of its upper-mid market customers.
• It is not expected that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will change its monetary stance in its meeting on Thursday. The BoJ is likely to continue to inject liquidity into the banking sector, and it has raised note issuance considerably as the demand for cash has risen.
• In the second of Thursday’s meetings of inert central banks, it is not expected that the events of the past month will have done anything to close the differences of opinion that exist across the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Consequently there is little chance of any change of either the bank rate or asset purchase facility.
• We can all breathe a sigh of relief when the House of Commons goes into recess on Wednesday. MPs will return to legislate and levy taxes on 26 April.
• It is expected that US President Barack Obama will register as a 2012 re-election candidate next week, with the Federal Election Commission filing possibly coming as early as Monday.
• The White House has announced Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, will visit President Barack Obama next week. During a working lunch planned for Tuesday, the two leaders will discuss US-Israeli security cooperation.