The markets may well welcome the Easter break, given they are facing another week of coronavirus uncertainty.
US: Unemployment numbers set to dominate
Unlike the last couple of weeks, which have been dominated by figures showing the economic cost of the coronavirus, this week is comparatively light on top tier data.
That is, bar Thursday’s unemployment claims reading.
A couple of weeks ago it was revealed that, for the 7 days to March 21st, a record 3.28 million people in the US had filed for unemployment, a figure almost 5 times the worst number seen during the financial crisis.
Just one week later that history-making figure was blown out of the water. For the period ending March 28th, a further 6.648 million Americans had put in jobless claims. That’s close to 10 times the size of the 665,000 Great Recession peak seen in March 2009 AND the long-held 695,000 all-time record set in October 1982.
Effectively 10 million people unemployed, in the space of a fortnight. And yet, though the markets did have a bit of a wobble after both sets of numbers, on each respective day equities ended the session in the green.
There were arguably extenuating circumstances for each. On March 26th investors were distracted by the confirmation of the $2.2 trillion US stimulus plan, while on April 2nd Trump drew focus by stating Russia and Saudi Arabia were close to ending their oil price war.
But can investors stomach another multi-million claims reading this week? Especially after news that the US economy shed 701,000 jobs in March according to the most recent nonfarm numbers – and that’s a figure taken in the middle of the month, mind. Again, though, it is important to note that the markets didn’t freak out at that unprecedented figure.
Beyond that headline unemployment claims announcement, there’s the JOLTS job openings number on Tuesday, the Fed meeting minutes on Wednesday, PPI and consumer sentiment figures on Thursday, and inflation data on Good Friday.
UK: A quieter week in store?
Closed for Good Friday, the FTSE and pound have only got 4 days of trading to contend with this week.
Not that the UK’s economic calendar is particularly busy this week. Or, at least, it isn’t between Monday and Wednesday. Thursday, on the other hand, has the GDP reading for the 3 months to the end of February – so missing out on the key coronavirus-hit period – alongside the latest industrial and manufacturing production figures.
UK: Stocks to Watch
There’s also the small matter of Tesco’s full year figures on Wednesday. Investors are mainly going to be interesting in its forecasts for the upcoming year, any word on supply chain issues, and its recent surge in sales.
Eurozone: Look out for German production orders
The Eurozone has a bit more data than its US and UK peers this week. German factory orders and Sentix investor confidence arrive on Monday, with German industrial production of Tuesday and German trade balance and Italian industrial production on Thursday, a day which also sees the latest meeting minutes from the ECB.
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