IT'S A mixed call for the opening of the stock markets this morning, with GFT calling the FTSE 100 and French CAC 40 to open virtually unchanged at 4,243 and 3,137 respectively. <br /><br />The German DAX on the other hand is expected to start the week on a more positive note, up 20 points at 4,796. <br /><br />MARKET DRIVERS THIS WEEK<br />After two weeks of consecutive declines on the European markets triggered by some pessimistic economic figures from the US, this week’s numbers will be closely watched for more clues as to whether recovery hopes can be sustained. It’s a four-day week for most American markets thanks to Independence Day celebrations on Friday, so this week’s key economic release event of the non-farm payrolls will be on Thursday. <br /><br />The forecast is for a loss of around 350,000 jobs and for a jump in the unemployment rate to 9.6 per cent. <br /><br />Tuesday’s consumer confidence data may confirm that a bounce-back in optimism is firmly entrenched, but if you are looking for pointers as to what we can expect from non-farms then Wedneday’s ISM report is crucial. <br /><br />LEADING INDICATORS<br />Often seen as the biggest leading indicator of the US payrolls figure, the ISM is called to surprise to the upside for the second month in a row with a reading of 44 per cent. <br /><br />Although the US numbers will no doubt provide overall direction for shares this week, don’t take your eye off M&S first quarter figures. <br /><br />The stats aren’t expected to be pretty with a drop of 2.5 per cent seen in overall sales in the 3 months to the end of June, and all-important food sales will be watched for any signs of improvement but after falling 3.7 per cent in the previous quarter another negative number is on the cards. <br /><br />M&S is still regarded as a bellwether for the UK retail sector so could provide an initial steer to a market struggling for direction first thing this morning.<br />Martin Slaney is head of derivatives at GFT.