Investors will be on high alert as an abundance of data drops from all angles this week

Quite apart from a raft of corporate earnings with the tech sector being in particular focus, the latest US GDP reading is expected, while the Federal Reserve meeting could provide further clues on the economic direction they are anticipating.

Article updated: 26 April 2021 10:00am Author: Richard Hunter

The data will follow on from more strong readings in factory activity and new housing sales which helped the S&P500 to another record closing high on Friday.

As comparatives become easier over this quarter and indeed the next, as the full effects of the pandemic last year are lapped in company numbers, a meaningful return towards normality is expected. At the same time, companies will have nowhere to hide if they miss expectations, especially set against share prices will have been reflecting hopes of a strong return to form.

Indeed, in the year to date both the Dow and the S&P500 are now ahead by 11.2%, with the Nasdaq also receiving some buying interest ahead of this tech heavy week to stand up by 8.8%.

In the UK the pace of corporate releases is equally frenetic, with the FTSE100 in particular focus as some of its major sectors report. The banks, oils and pharmaceuticals will each have their own views on the current effects of the pandemic. This could range from the possibility of lower than provisioned bad debts for the banks through to any stimulus which the recent strength of the oil price may have had in improving the fortunes of the beleaguered oil majors.

Meanwhile, other stocks which have been in particular pandemic focus will also provide updates, with full-year numbers from Sainsbury and an update from Unilever. Persimmon should see further benefit from the current hosts of tailwinds in the sector, while Flutter Entertainment could provide more detail on the burgeoning US market in which it has a growing toehold and which has helped to propel its shares ahead by 68% over the last year.

The immediate direction of the FTSE100 will therefore be driven by each of these various inputs which, accompanied by a warming sentiment generally towards the UK as an investment destination, could consolidate the 7.2% rise which the index has seen so far this year.

More from Richard Hunter: read more articles directly on the interactive investor website.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of The Share Centre, its officers and employees.

Richard Hunter

Head of Markets, interactive investor

Richard has over 30 years of stockmarket experience and is one of the UK’s foremost commentators on market matters and a regular contributor for the BBC (BBC News Channel, Wake Up to Money and the Today Programme), CNBC and Bloomberg. Richard’s expert commentary also appears across the national and specialist press. He previously held senior positions at Hargreaves Lansdown and NatWest Stockbrokers.

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