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Pinstickers will pile onto the Grand National, but GVC update should provide more on the Cheltenham impact

Aside from the trading news from Ladbrokes Coral bookmaker's owner GVC, the main focus for the Day Ahead will be the March US non-farm payrolls data
GVC has said that in the first eight weeks of 2019, net gaming revenue rose by 11% year-on-year driven by a 22% increase in online revenues

With the UK’s biggest horse racing betting event, the Grand National at Aintree, coming up on Saturday and the end of the football season fast approaching too, Friday’s first-quarter trading update from GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC) will be closely eyed on Friday.

Just a month after the FTSE 100-listed firm – which acquired Ladbrokes Coral last year - reported its full-year numbers, investors will be keen to see how the bookmaker did over the Cheltenham Festival of horse-racing in the middle of March, which mostly saw the favourites come in.

With its 2018 results, the group revealed that in the first eight weeks of 2019, net gaming revenue rose by 11% year-on-year, driven by a 22% increase in online revenues.

With profits from betting shops expected to fall this year as a result of the introduction the week of a £2mln maximum stakes on the fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) that are often referred to as “the crack cocaine of gambling”, investors will be hoping that online growth has continued to be strong at GVC.

US Jobs bounce-back forecast for March

The latest US jobs report will be the day’s main focus, however, with economists hoping for a bounce back in March after a much weaker than expected performance in the previous month.

February’s non-farm payrolls only grew by 20,000, a big shock after economists had expected roughly 300,000 jobs to be created.

For March there is an expectation of a bounce back, with around 167,000 jobs forecast to be added, while the US unemployment rate should still hold at records lows of 3.8%.

However, a fair bit of other data is suggesting that strong US economic growth is slowly grinding to halt and the latest sentiment around more limited US interest rate rises, as a result, bears this out.

Economists at ING expect to see US payrolls growth of around 160,000 for March, with average earnings rising 0.3% month-on-month and the unemployment rate staying at 3.8%.

Significant announcements expect on Friday, April 5:

Trading update: GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC), Ferrexpo PLC (Q1) (LON:FXPO)

Traffic figures: International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC (LON:IAG)

Finals: Creo Medical PLC (LON:CREO)        

AGMs: Tekcapital PLC (LON:TEK)

Economic data: US non-farm payrolls; US average hourly earnings; US consumer credit change

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