Bet of the week? US unemployment figures

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The Independent Online

The relatively quiet week could turn noisy on Friday when key US unemployment stats are issued. The non-farm payroll numbers are expected to come in at 195,000 and unemployment is expected to tick down to 8.9 per cent.

"But any weakness in the former and the markets could drop sharply," warns Manoj Ladwa, senior trader at ETX Capital. So it could be a chance to short the market, although timing will be crucial. If traders sense that the data may be depressed, they will factor that into prices which could therefore see the slip in markets arrive before Friday.

Even when the market's short week opens for business on Tuesday, there doesn't look to be much activity to back. However, with three Footsie giants – National Grid, Vodafone and WPP – going ex-dividend on Wednesday, there could be some buying interest in them on Tuesday. "I would buy National Grid and Vodafone and leave WPP," says Mr Ladwa.

On Thursday, ASOS will be revealing full-year figures. Keep a keen eye on the numbers. If they're less than sparkling there could be a swift sell-off, which could be a reason for shorting.

Kingfisher's first-quarter update could also offer an opportunity on Thursday. The DIY sector has been troubled of late, but B&Q's owner may produce some positive figures. It could be worth a small punt.

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