The Spring Budget on Wednesday won’t be the main Treasury showcase anymore but it’s going to be closely watched as it comes at a pivotal moment for the UK economy as the country heads into Brexit negotiations. Rising tax receipts and solid economic growth means chancellor Philip Hammond will be able to announce a drop in government borrowing. But with Brexit uncertainty weighing heavily, there is unlikely to be much in the piggy bank to raid.

No major reforms are expected but stock pickers should watch for any tax changes that affect insurers, housebuilders, estate agents and airlines. Meanwhile anything on infrastructure spending could see movement in construction groups. Banks will also be in the spotlight.



On Thursday it’s the turn of the European Central Bank (ECB). With growth returning and inflation picking up there is renewed confidence in the Eurozone economy, as evidenced by a surge in inflows to European equities. The ECB will decide if there is any scope for tapering asset purchases – no change is expected but we should learn a lot more about whether policymakers are thinking about this yet.



Friday is the return of the monthly nonfarm payrolls (NFP) numbers from the US. Donald Trump’s rallying call for a ‘renewal of the American spirit’ is boosting growth and inflation prospects but a lot hinges on the ongoing strength of the labour market.  January’s figures beat expectations 227,000 jobs created. Markets are increasingly primed for the Federal Reserve to raise rates when it meets later in March – the NFP numbers will be an important indicator of just how likely this is.



The Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates at 1.5% last month and has signalled to markets that it expects the benchmark rate to remain low for longer. For Aussie traders it could be a late night - the rate statement is due at 03:30 (GMT) on Tuesday.



Finally there are lots of FTSE earnings releases due out this week. The likes of Ashtead, Inmarsat and Worldpay are among some of the biggest results but it’s insurers who will be most keenly watched after the government slashed the discount rate for personal injury claims. Admiral, Direct Line and Aviva are all due to report. Direct Line says the move will hit pre-tax profits by up to £230 million, while Admiral says it will reduce 2016 profits by £70m-£100m. Aviva says it will book a £385m charge from the change to the Ogden discount rate.

Economic Calendar

(All times GMT)

Monday, 6 March

00:30 – Australia retail sales

09:30 – Eurozone Sentix investor confidence

15:00 – US factory orders

Tuesday, 7 March

00:01: UK BRC retail sales monitor

03:30 – Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate & rate statement

05:00 – Bank of Japan core CPI

07:00 – German factory orders

08:30 – UK Halifax house price index

13:30 – Canada trade balance

15:00 – Canada Ivey PMI

23:50 – Japan final GDP reading (Q4, 2016)

Wednesday, 8 March

Tentative – China trade balance

12:30 – UK Spring Budget

13:15 – US ADP nonfarm employment change

15:30 – US crude oil inventories

Thursday, 9 March

01:30 – China CPI, PPI inflation

06:00 – Japan preliminary machine tool orders

09:00 – Italy industrial production

12:45 – ECB interest rate decision

13:30 – ECB press conference

13:30 – US weekly unemployment claims

Friday, 10 March

09:30 – UK manufacturing production, goods trade balance, industrial production, construction output

13:30 – US nonfarm payrolls


Corporate Calendar


Tuesday, 7 March

Aggreko (AGK) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.630

Ashtead Group (AHT) – Q3/2017, EPS estimate 0.226

Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.289

John Laing Group (JLG) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.473

Just Eat (JE) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.113

LSL Property Services (LSL) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.247

Worldpay Group – (WPG) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.116

Wednesday, 8 March

Admiral Group (ADM) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 1.058

Foxtons (FOXT) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.058

Inmarsat (ISAT) – Y/2016, 0.538

Thursday, 9 March

Aldermore Group (ALD) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.255

Aviva (AV) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.496

Countrywide (CWD) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.206

Old Mutual (OML) –Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.165

Premier Oil (PMO) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.121

Wm Morrison Supermarkets (MRW) – Y/2017, EPS estimate 0.108

Friday, 10 March

J D Wetherspoon (JDW) – S1/2017

Esure Group (ESUR) – Y/2016, EPS estimate 0.150

Source: Bloomberg

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