Good morning and welcome to Money Minute, your comprehensive preview of this week’s biggest financial stories.
It’s a relatively quiet week for UK economic data. Later in the week, we get the latest reading on UK house prices from Nationwide. The building society’s report for February is likely to confirm that prices are picking up after spending most of 2019 flatlining. Much of this has been driven by falling mortgage rates rather than the changing political situation. When home loans get cheaper, house prices tend to go up. That said, there have been signs of a post-election relief rally in the more timely indicators, such as Rightmove’s index of asking prices.
For the US, Thursday brings the weekly jobless claims figures, as well as durable goods orders. The latter is significant as it gives a good idea of how much businesses are investing in new equipment.
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On Friday, there’s a glut of economic data from Japan, with updates on inflation, unemployment and retail sales, as well as manufacturing and construction activity. Japan’s economy is clearly very vulnerable to the knock-on impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Tourism is already being hit hard, while manufacturing activity has fallen sharply. That said, most of the data relates to figures for January, and so is unlikely to give a full view of the extent of the damage so far.
On the corporate front, it’s a hectic week with many FTSE 100 companies reporting their full-year results. Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey releases its full-year figures on Wednesday, while rival Persimmon releases its own figures on Thursday. Prospects have been looking up for house builders. Analysts at HSBC recently tipped the sector as one big winner from the increased political certainty following the election.
Other big names reporting include banking group Standard Chartered, multinational consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser, and advertising conglomerate WPP.
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