The week ahead

A look ahead to major events, economic releases and company news expected next week.

World politics

The important event over Saturday and Sunday will be the referendum in Crimea. The poll will decide whether the region stays as part of Ukraine or leaves to join Russia. MPs in the regional parliament have already voted to join Russia, but the public consultation will confirm that decision. Meanwhile, the Russian and US foreign ministers will meet in London, for talks on how to resolve the crisis. Crimea is likely to vote to join Russia, and the talks are probably going to come to nothing. It seems we are on course for European and US sanctions but, beyond that, little is certain.

The impact on markets will probably be a bout of risk-off trading if the weekend witnesses an increase in political rhetoric.

Economic reports

The week just past witnessed weaker China data and also the first rate rise by a developed nation, as New Zealand increased rates.

For the week ahead, the key events to watch out for will be:


Eurozone CPI (10am): This is expected to see month-on-month growth of 0.4%, an improvement over the drop of 1.1% seen between December and January. Market to watch: EUR/USD


German ZEW index (10am): This survey of economists helps markets to gauge the current strength of the German economy. Market to watch: EUR/USD


UK unemployment data and Bank of England minutes (9.30am): A drop of 27,600 is expected in claims during February, with the ILO unemployment rate for January coming in at 7.2%. The minutes from the BoE may help determine whether there is any shift in policymakers’ opinions about the timing of rate rises. Market to watch: GBP/USD

UK budget (12.30pm): Chancellor George Osborne lays out his spending plans for the year. Although no major changes are forecast, we may see some volatility in sterling, particularly if Mr Osborne looks to reduce growth estimates or increases the amount of borrowing he expects to make. Market to watch: GBP/USD

Federal Open Market Committee meeting (6pm): Although no change is expected on the pace of asset purchases, Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve will be keen to reassure the market that they are continuing to assess the strength of the US economy and that rate rises remain a long way off. Market to watch: Wall Street


US initial jobless claims (12.30pm), Philadelphia Fed Index, Exiting Home Sales (2pm): The Thursday afternoon bumper-issue of US data sees further news on unemployment, economic activity on the east Coast and home sales across the country. The continuing progression of economic news will be closely watched to gauge the pace of growth in the US. Market to watch: Wall Street


Company announcements


Cairn Energy, Resolution and Antofagasta


Smiths Group




Company news is lighter next week, but particularly important will be miner Antofagasta which has seen the price of its chief output, copper, drop by 9% over the course of this week, and retailer Next, whose steady rally has been proof of the improvement in the retail sector. Antofagasta’s drop below the 200-day moving average means that 800p becomes the next level to watch, while Next will be looking to break through the recent highs of £68 if its results are well-received.

It will also be important to keep a continued eye on the stock market debutantes of Poundland, Pets at Home and, which all began trading this week. 

All times London time.

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