Full steam ahead for London shares

Tomorrow, UK stocks look ready to resume the record-setting pace of last week. The question is: can they keep it up?

Two economic reports might cause a squall or two: the producer price index tomorrow, and the industrial production report on Wednesday. If the market can weather these, the rest of the week should be plain sailing.

The danger is that the PPI will show inflationary pressures building up. Higher interest rates would follow and corporate profits would shrink. Failing that, declining industrial output could suggest the strong pound is raising costs for manufacturers.

In fact, neither is likely. Expectations are that sterling's strength forced down producer input prices last month by 0.2 per cent compared with the month before. That would put the decline from February last year at 6.1 per cent. When the prices factories pay for raw materials fall more than 6 per cent in a year, inflation is not much of a threat.

Similarly, predictions for output are that it will show a 0.2 per cent gain in January from December and a 1.4 per cent gain from January a year ago - the kind of steady, sustainable growth that keeps rates low and earnings respectable.

Even if both reports prove discouraging, corporate results could restore some optimism. Last week stocks kept rising as a series of companies reported profits that met or exceeded projections. This week IMI, Orange, Psion, Zeneca, Reed International, United Biscuits, Zeneca and Legal & General report, among others.

The example set by US stocks should help as well. Just after trading closed on the London Stock Exchange on Friday, the Dow climbed as high as 7,018.59. It gave back some of these gains but still managed to end the day at 7,000.89, an advance of 56.19.

What is most encouraging about the US rise is its foundation. The prospect is for steady growth with little inflation - the same outlook as for Britain.

By contrast, the big European markets can at best look forward to slowly improving economies. Although France's CAC 40 index turned in its best performance in eight weeks, few people expect it to maintain that pace while the economy remains so sluggish.

Much the same is true in Germany. A weak mark against the dollar boosted shares in exporters and helped the DAX index to set four straight records last week, but some analysts are beginning to wonder just how long a stock market rally can depend on a declining currency.

LARRY KING Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Operations Engineer (Redhat, UNIX, Solaris, Data Centre, Cisco)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Operations Engineer (Redhat, UNIX, Solaris, Data...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices