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Thursday’s Horror show economic stats set to dominate agenda

The next round of economic stats aren't expected to make positive reading.

PureTech Health plc - Thursday’s Horror show economic stats set to dominate agenda

With only Puretech Health PLC pencilled in the books for Thursday, the attentions will be on macroeconomics.

The pending data is not expected to make positive reading.

“Looking at the economic indicators nowadays is like watching a horror movie,” says Marshall Gittler at BDSwiss and, after looking at the potential shape of the economic recovery in coming years from V-shaped, to U- and L-shaped but reckoning a “Nike swoosh” is more likely, says for next week’s economic data “who cares?” when it’s all so transitory and backwards looking anyway.

But for the UK, the big day is Maundy Thursday’s short-term economic indicator day, when the Office for National Statistic will publish figures on GDP, industrial production and trade.

UK industrial production is forecast to show a small improvement in February, declining only 2.6% year on year instead of 2.9%.

After January’s paltry 0% month-on-month performance for GDP, February is expected to have just eked out 0.1% expansion but that was before the sharper effects of the pandemic and government lockdown kicked in.

The weak GDP at the start of the year was probably due to concerns over Brexit.

“Ha! How quaint and innocent those concerns seem now,” says Gittler. “There was talk of shortages of critical medicines, but no one dreamed that they’d be converting a London conference center into an emergency hospital, as has actually happened.”

After the past week’s weak PMI data, Pantheon Macroeconomics said this was consistent with GDP falling by a further 2.5% in the second quarter of 2020, but as the retail sector is not included in the PMIs, it was forecasting much bigger declines in GDP of about 1.5% in Q1 and 13.0% in Q2.

US data will be closely examined by many market operators, including the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NFIB Smaller Business Economics Trends report.

The NFIB has maintained a run of scores above 100 since 2016 but the market it is braced for bad news, as with the JOLTS where January saw 6.9mln job openings, the sixth year-on-year decline in seven months.

This suggested the US economy had been cooling a bit, even before the viral outbreak hit home, say analysts at AJ Bell.

“A further decline seems possible this time around although it may not be until the March and April figures that we get to see an extended of the slowdown.”

Thursday 9 April:

Finals: Puretech Health PLC (LON:PRTC),

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 0.29 points off the index: DS Smith plc (LON:SMDS)

Economic data: UK trade balance, UK production, UK monthly GDP, US jobless claims, US PPI

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