This week's key numbers will signal if recovery is sustained

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&rsquo;s numbers will be closely watched for more clues as to whether recovery hopes can be sustained. It&rsquo;s a four-day week for most American markets thanks to Independence Day celebrations on Friday, so this week&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;t take your eye off M&amp;S first quarter figures. <br /><br />The stats aren&rsquo;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&amp;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.