London markets are set for another whipsawing week driven by investors responding sharply to any news on the Omicron variant.
The capital’s premier FTSE 100 index was extremely volatile last week, fluctuating between good and bad days.
The blue-chip index ultimately finished the week higher, but failed to cancel out all of the losses registered a week or so ago when a mass selloff triggered by the emergence of the Omicron variant caused global markets to plunge.
Again, the new strain is set to drive market movements this week.
Philip Shaw, economist at Investec, said: “As governments impose a number of restrictions, markets await assessments from scientists to determine whether we are heading towards a worst case or a relatively benign scenario.”
One key piece of research, released on Tuesday by South African scientists, will reveal the first findings on whether the Omicron variant is able to evade vaccines.
A string of closely watched economic data will also exert a strong influence over markets, kicking off with the latest purchasing managers’ index for the UK construction industry tomorrow.
Halifax releases the next instalment of their house price index on Tuesday. Barclaycard publishes consumer spending figures for November on the same day.
Two of the month’s most closely scrutinised figures are published on Friday. UK GDP figures for October are out first thing in the morning, and analysts expect a growth print of around 0.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, across the pond, US inflation data will dominate the agenda.
Noticeable corporate announcements during the week include travel operator Tui on Wednesday.