• SABMiller’s half-year figures will be closely watched
  • Could sterling get a boost from robust UK jobs data?

All eyes on SABMiller amid merger talksS

ABMiller's results matter more than usual this quarter, with the company in the midst of a 'mega merger' with brewing rival Anheuser-Busch InBev. SABMiller shares have surged to a record high of £40 since the deal was first rumoured.

Profits at AB InBev were dragged lower by currency fluctuations and an emerging market slowdown this quarter. SABMiller faces the same risk factors, not to mention the trend of drinkers in the US and the UK shifting away from mass-produced lager towards cask ale.

There are a number of headwinds facing the brewing industry, but perhaps that underpins the need to 'buy growth' through M&A and create the world's biggest brewer.

Could strong results carry SABMiller to a fresh record or will poor results risk a pullback?

UK jobs and wages data could slow sterling declineAfter last week's surprisingly downbeat UK inflation report, the prospect of an interest rate rise by the Bank of England early next year has diminished sharply. However, this week’s unemployment and wages data could diverge sharply from last week’s dovish outlook, particularly if the data continues to improve. With inflation remaining low, UK average earnings have climbed well above the rate of inflation for the whole of 2015.

With wage growth now around 3%, another strong figure, along with continued improvements in the unemployment rate could prompt further speculation about the timing of a Bank of England rate rise – and help arrest the pound’s recent slide.

Could further strong jobs and wage data push the pound higher?