What to Watch in The Day Ahead; Thursday, April 24

Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:31pm EDT

(The Day Ahead is an email and PDF publication that includes the day's major stories and events, analyses and other features. To receive The Day Ahead, Eikon users can register at . Thomson One users can register at RT/DAY/US. All times in ET/GMT) Orders for long-lasting goods manufactured in the U.S. rose at a slower pace in March, after going up 2.2 percent in February. The Commerce Department is expected to report that durable goods orders were up 2 percent in March. (0830/1230) The Labor Department is scheduled to issue weekly jobless claims data. (0830/1230)

Microsoft is expected to post a lower fiscal third-quarter profit as personal computer sales continue to slump, hurting its core Windows business. In a departure from convention, new Chief Executive Satya Nadella will take analysts' questions on a conference call and likely expand on his strategic plan for the software company, which so far involves more focus on mobile apps and cloud computing than reliance on Windows.

Debit and credit card company Visa's second-quarter results are expected to be hit by a slowdown in U.S. consumer spending after an unusually harsh winter. Visa and smaller rival MasterCard Inc also have to withstand growing competition from big name retailers who are expanding their presence in the fiercely competitive mobile payment market that promises to cut transaction costs and increase customer loyalty.

Verizon is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings. Analysts are expecting the company to earn about 87 cents per share. Verizon Wireless added 1.6 million subscribers in the previous quarter, beating the 1.5 million average estimate of five analysts contacted by Reuters. (0730/1130)

Diversified manufacturer 3M is expected to report a rise in earnings per share for the first-quarter. After the company posted disappointing fourth-quarter sales, analysts are looking for an acceleration in sales growth.

Online retailer Amazon.com is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 23 cents per share after the bell. The company is in the midst of launching several big products, including its streaming video device Fire TV and "Dash," a wand-like device that allows users to compile an Amazon Prime grocery list, as it tries to staunch defections and build a case for Amazon Prime membership.

Caterpillar is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings. The world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment has warned that sales may be down as much as five percent this year as resource companies continue to retrench. (0730/1130)

Time Warner Cable is scheduled to report first-quarter results before the bell. Investors will be listening for any news related to Comcast's $45.3 billion takeover of the company that is awaiting regulatory approval. The cable company has been shedding hundreds of thousands of video subscribers in recent quarters, but said it was seeing some momentum at the start of the year.

General Motors is scheduled to announce first-quarter results before the markets open. While analysts will focus on whether the key North American and China markets are slowing and how demand for the highly profitable new full-size pickup trucks and SUVs is faring, those on Main Street and in the halls of Congress will be looking to see if any more details emerge on the company's handling of the defective ignition switches linked to 13 deaths and the recall of more than 2.6 million vehicles.

Auto parts maker Delphi Automotive, which supplies parts to Toyota, GM and Volkswagen, is scheduled to announce first-quarter results before the bell. Investors will be looking out for any additional commentary on the GM probe and the company's outlook for Europe and South America.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold and Newmont Mining, which have operations in Indonesia, are scheduled to report results for the first-quarter. Investors will be looking for updates on the companies' ongoing dispute with the government of Indonesia, which announced a new export tax earlier this year. Freeport and Newmont have argued that the new tax violates agreements they have with the government, and Freeport has cut production at its massive Grasberg mine.

Eli Lilly is expected to report sharply lower first-quarter earnings due to generic competition for its Cymbalta depression drug, but investors will pay greater heed to how its experimental treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases are doing in clinical trials and whether they will be able to revive the company after its painful three-year stretch of patent expirations.

Parcel delivery company United Parcel Services, scheduled to report first-quarter results, is expected to take a hit from severe winter conditions. In March, rival Fedex cut its fiscal-year profit forecast citing unusual weather-related disruptions. The company's capital expenditure in 2014 is expected to reach $2.5 billion which may weigh on the results.

Biotechnology company Celgene is expected to report higher first-quarter earnings on the strength of its multiple myeloma drug Revlimid and newer products. Investors will be looking for clarity on when the company plans to file for expanded approval to use Revlimid as an initial treatment for the disease, seen as the next big sales catalyst for its flagship product.

Starbucks is expected to post second-quarter results after the bell. In the previous quarter, the coffee chain reported that sales at established restaurants in its U.S.-dominated Americas region cooled more than analysts expected.

Potash Corp is scheduled to report first-quarter results that are expected to be sharply lower year-over-year, due to weaker potash prices and soft overseas demand. The focus is on the company's second-quarter guidance. Investors will listen closely for any insights into the company's strategy from outgoing Chief Executive Bill Doyle.

Health insurer Aetna is scheduled to report first-quarter results. The company is one of the largest players on the Obamacare health exchanges and its report should give insight into just how much money it is losing on its new customers. (0600/1000)

American Airlines Group, the company formed by the merger of American and US Airways in December, is expected to report a profit of 48 cents per share for the first quarter. Passenger revenue per available seat mile, an important measure, is expected to rise 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent for the quarter, suggesting the new American kept its planes full and had pricing power.

Oil and natural gas producer Noble Energy is expected to post a drop in first-quarter profit due to increased spending on exploration.

United Continental, now the second-biggest airline behind American Airlines, is expected to report a wider first-quarter loss due to cost increases and winter storms hurting revenue.

Fourth-largest U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines is expected to report higher first-quarter earnings as it flew fuller planes and saw strong demand in the United States, which accounts for 95 percent of its flying.

Medical device maker Edwards Lifesciences is expected to report first-quarter results of about 69 cents per share. The company's net earnings declined in the previous quarter due to restructuring charges and costs for launching its next-generation replacement heart valves. (1600/2000)

Private equity firm KKR & Co led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts is expected to report first-quarter results, with investors focused on whether choppy markets have negatively impacted the valuation of its funds.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the first of the U.S. hoteliers to report, blamed slow economic activity in Asia and forecast first-quarter revenue below the average analysts' estimate in February. Starwood is expected to benefit from increased business travel in the United States, but not as much as its rivals. Investors will be interested in whether this increased travel in the United States will be able to offset the slowdown in Asia.

D.R.Horton and PulteGroup are expected to report quarterly results before the bell. Investors will be looking to see if the two largest U.S. homebuilders have managed to bounce back from the harsh winter weather as the spring selling season gets underway. The companies have both relied on raising selling prices to boost revenue over the past few quarters. With the rate of rise in home prices expected to slow, investors will also be watching for comments on gross margins.

Exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group is expected to report higher first-quarter earnings compared with a year ago, helped by recent acquisitions. Analysts will likely ask CEO Robert Greifeld to comment on the debate around high-frequency trading following the announcements of investigations into the practice by several government bodies.

Property and casualty insurer Chubb's first-quarter results are expected to miss estimates, according to StarMine data. The company had warned earlier this year that its results would be hurt by severe winter weather in the United States.

Steelmaker Nucor is scheduled to report its financial results for the first-quarter before the markets open. The company may give broad forecasts for the second quarter, or updates on the ramp-up process at its new direct reduced iron facility in Louisiana.

Offshore rig contractor Diamond Offshore Drilling is expected to report a lower first-quarter profit due to slowing rig demand and a higher-than-expected number of rigs being idled in the first half of the year. While the fall in rig demand and utilization is expected to affect the sector widely, analysts expect Diamond Offshore to have more downside earnings risk than its peers, given the age of the company's rig fleet.

Royal Caribbean, the world's second-largest cruise operator, is likely to report first-quarter earnings that are expected to top the analysts' estimate. The company has already forecast a strong 2014 with demand picking up in key markets like Europe and Asia. Investors will look for updates on bookings for its European and Asian cruises. They will also be keen on signs of recovery in demand from the Caribbean, its biggest market.

The U.S. Dunkin' Donuts business will be under a microscope when parent Dunkin' Brands reports first-quarter results. The popular coffee chain is the No. 1 breakfast rival to McDonald's, which earlier this week reported a drop in same-restaurant sales for the first quarter. Dunkin' Brands is a gauge of middle-class spending.

JetBlue Airways is expected to post a higher first-quarter profit as revenue gains helped offset the negative effects of bad weather. Analysts on average expect a profit of 7 cents per share compared with 5 cents per share a year earlier. JetBlue's pilots recently voted to unionize, potentially raising the carrier's costs and perhaps opening the floodgates for unions to try to organize its other employee groups.

Asset manager T. Rowe Price's first-quarter results are expected to be in line with estimates, according to StarMine data. T Rowe Price is expected to benefit from a strong performance of its retirement funds business, which has seen healthy inflows in the recent quarters. Investors will be watching the company's assets under management, which saw major outflows last year.

The New York Times' first-quarter results are likely to prove that declining advertising revenue is still a persistent challenge for the print media industry. Still, investors have been focusing on the company's subscription revenue, which now makes up about half of all revenue. The NYT has launched new digital apps and made efforts at native advertising this year, which will be a focus this quarter. (Compiled By Shashwat Sharma)