Our Chief Market Analyst, Michael Hewson, provides his thoughts and analysis on this week's events.

View his week ahead video, the top stories for this week, plus our key company earnings schedule. Michael looks ahead to the latest US payrolls report for March, wage growth numbers and Spotify IPO, as well as looking back at the performance of equity markets over the last quarter.

Global services and manufacturing PMIs
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: The recent underperformance in European equity markets appears to suggest concern that purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data so far this year, along with other indicators, has shown signs of softness. This raises questions as to whether the best of the economic recovery in Europe might be in the rear view mirror. This week’s March services and manufacturing PMIs for China, Japan and Europe could reinforce these concerns and keep investors cautious about the outlook, especially given how poorly markets in Europe and Japan performed relative to their US counterparts in recent weeks.  

UK manufacturing, construction and services data 
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: Despite gloomy predictions on how the UK economy is faring, recent economic data shows that the UK has continued to grow. This is building on a run of economic expansion which has now lasted for 20 successive quarters. March’s manufacturing (Tue), construction (Wed) and services (Thu) PMI data will be the latest piece of the puzzle. It could give important clues as to how strong the UK economy is likely to be and whether we get a 21st successive quarter of economic expansion. 

Spotify direct listing 
Tuesday: After the success of Dropbox’s initial public offering (IPO) earlier in March, markets are now gearing up for Spotify’s turn to go public, via a direct listing, on 3 April.  By going down this route, the company is taking a chance on how the shares will be valued – with no idea of the number of shares available, it is much more difficult to set a value for the company. Will Spotify hit the spot?  

Interserve full-year 2017
Tuesday: The outsourcing industry has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent months, so Interserve’s refinancing deal, secured last month, was particularly welcome following its recent problems. This should allow management to focus on the day-to-day problems of returning the business to a more stable footing, after last year’s £195m profit warning saw the share price plunge. It remains likely we will see further job losses at a time when net debt exceeds the total value of the entire business. The new CEO, Debbie White, is expected to confirm plans to slash costs by up to £50m by 2020, while looking to break-even on the company’s loss-making contracts in its energy-waste division by the end of this year. 

Finish Line Q4 results 
Tuesday: Last week UK sports retailer JD Sports acquired US sports shoe chain Finish Line for £400m, giving JD Sports a major foothold in the US market. This is a brave move given the problems already being faced by other established players like Foot Locker and Dicks Sporting Goods. Finish Line has had its problems, with its most recent update showing sliding revenue and profit. Given recent weakness in US retail sales, will this be another disappointing update from a US sports retailer suffering from an overcapacity problem?

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Index dividend schedule

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See this week's details
 

 

Monday 2 AprilResults
Cal-Maine Foods (US)Q3
Westmoreland Coal (US)Q4
Tuesday 3 AprilResults
Cloudera (US)Full-year
Dave & Buster's Entertainment (US)Q4
Finish Line (US)Q4
International Speedway (US)Q1
Interserve (UK)Full-year
Landec (US)Q3
Wednesday 4 AprilResults
Acuity Brands (US)Q2
CarMax (US)Q4
Franklin Covey (US)Q2
Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings (US)Q4
Resources Connection (US)Q3
Thursday 5 AprilResults
Hooker Furniture (US)Q4
Lamb Weston Holdings (US)Q3
PriceSmart (US)Q2
RPM International (US)Q3
Schnitzer Steel Industries (US)Q2
WD-40 (US)Q2
Friday 6 AprilResults
No major US or UK companies reporting 

Company announcements are subject to change. All the events listed above were correct at the time of writing.

CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.