US corporate earnings will continue to spur market direction this week, although some higher-tier economic data also from the States may try and hog the limelight. Verizon – number one mobile service provider in the US– kick the week off, out today at 12.30. Oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron report Thursday and Friday. Much lower profits than last year are expected from the oil sector due to markedly lower prices. Several media giants are also reporting, with Viacom out tomorrow, Time Warner on Wednesday and Disney on Thursday. Friday’s release of the Core PCE – the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation guage – and Employment Cost index – a widely-watched measure of total employee compensation costs, together with the US GDP number out the same day, mean Friday has the most volatility potential. The market will probably focus most on GDP, where expectations are high for a substantial easing in the recession. Anything worse than the 1.5 per cent contraction estimate could well disappoint.
Last week’s rally in global stock markets, driven primarily by better-than-expected US earnings from many of the blue chips, looks set to carry forward for now, and GFT is calling a stronger open on European markets this morning.
The FTSE 100 is quoted at 4,605 to 4,611 – up 33 points from Friday’s close. The German DAX is called to open up 36 points at 5,265, and the French CAC is expected to open up 30 points at 3,396.