What to Watch in the Week Ahead and on Monday, Aug. 18

Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:27pm 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) WEEK AHEAD The asset markets head into a very quiet period next week, with global tensions providing most of the impetus for any moves that might happen until the Fed's Jackson Hole conference late in the week. News that Ukraine had engaged armored Russian carriers in Ukraine was enough to take the 10-year note to lows not seen in more than a year, and that pressure, and the knee-jerk ways in which investors flee to the likes of safety, should keep bond yields lower. Equities will keep a wary eye on Ukraine as well, and the yen and dollar should see the benefit of safe-haven moves as well. Inflation and housing data are in focus next week. Labor Department data on Tuesday is expected to show declining energy prices holding back consumer prices in July. The underlying trend, however, will continue to point to a steady rise in inflation pressures. The consumer price index is forecast rising 0.1 percent after increasing 0.3 percent in June. Excluding food and energy, the CPI is expected to have increased 0.2 percent after gaining 0.1 percent in June. The Commerce Department is expected to report that housing starts increased to a 970,000-unit pace in July from 893,000 units, while building permits rose to a 999,000-unit rate from 973,000 units in June. On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors is expected to report that existing home sales fell 0.3 percent to a 5.02 million-unit pace in July. Fed officials will gather in Jackson Hole next week for its annual gathering of central bankers and economists. Known officially as the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, and sponsored by the Kansas City Fed, the event features live speeches and panels. The title of this year's event, held from Aug. 21-23, is "Re-evaluating Labor Market Dynamics. Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivers opening remarks on Friday morning. In the afternoon, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will deliver a lunch address. On Saturday, the main event is a panel of international central bankers who will discuss labor markets and monetary policy. The Fed also publishes the minutes from its July FOMC meeting, set for an approximate release on Wednesday afternoon. Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest computing corporation, is scheduled to release third-quarter results on Wednesday after the bell. The company is ploughing ahead with its plan to transform itself into a hardware-software-networking conglomerate that caters to corporate and government clients, though topline growth remains elusive in a difficult IT spending environment and recently expanded layoffs revive fears that the company is sacrificing long-term innovation for short-term gains. The company has not seen the type of drastic deceleration in China that Cisco and IBM have, but some analysts think it's just a matter of time before anti-U.S. sentiment catches up with the company. Target is expected to report second-quarter earnings before the bell on Wednesday. The beleaguered retailer pre-announced second-quarter earnings earlier this month, where it cut its profit estimate as it had to resort to price cuts to attract cash-strapped consumers and win back customers unnerved by a massive holiday season data breach. It also said same-store sales were flat in the United States, mirroring Wal-Mart's performance in the region. All eyes, however, will be on how new CEO Brian Cornell will rebuild the company's reputation following the breach and stanch losses in Canada, where a botched expansion has led to nearly $1 billion in losses. Investors will also be keen to hear about the company's back to school initiatives and how it has tracked so far in the current quarter. On Tuesday, before the bell Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement chain, is likely to report second-quarter profit above analysts' expectations, according to StarMine. The company said in May that it expected to realize in the second quarter most of the sales it lost in the first quarter due to a severe winter in the United States. However, July sales data indicate sales of building material, garden equipment and supplies grew as more people undertook home renovation projects delayed due to the long winter, which is expected to have benefited Home Depot and rival Lowe's. Investors will look out for comments about the second half of the year, when analysts expect a slowdown in housing to hit demand for home improvement products. On Wednesday, Lowe's is likely to report second-quarter profit above analysts' expectations, according to StarMine. Top global miner BHP Billiton is expected to report a rise in second-half underlying earnings on Tuesday. There is also a chance BHP will announce a spin-off of its manganese, aluminium, South African coal and Cannington silver assets and/or announce the closure or sale of its Nickel West business. Staples, the largest U.S. office supplies retailer, is expected to report second-quarter results on Wednesday amid tough competition as customers shift to e-retailers such as Amazon.com, mass merchants such as Wal-Mart Stores and drugstores to buy their office supplies. Investors will be interested to know how Staples intends to curb the pressure on its margins as a result of heavy discounting ahead of the back-to-school season and how sales are tracking in the quarter. They will also look for updates on the planned closure of up to 225 stores in the United States and its spending on e-commerce and marketing. Asset manager Eaton Vance's third-quarter profit is expected to rise, but would be subdued by lower assets under management. Analysts expect accelerated outflows in bank loans and equity. The company's growth is expected to be limited due to investment performance and product positioning. The company, expected to release its third-quarter results on Wednesday, has been focusing on expanding and raising funds in emerging markets in the Middle East and in Australia. Medical technology company Medtronic is expected to release first-quarter earnings before the bell on Tuesday. Dollar Tree reports second-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday after it announced last month that it would buy rival discount chain Family Dollar Stores for $8.5 billion, to fend off growing competition from Wal-Mart Stores and fellow discounter Dollar General. Investors will want to know about the progress on the deal as well as measures to ease margin pressure as it looks to slash prices to woo its lower-income clientele. TJX Cos, the owner of off-price chains TJ Maxx and Marshalls, will report second-quarter results before the bell on Tuesday. The retailer has missed profit estimates in the last two quarters. A pullback in consumer spending on discretionary items such as apparels forced TJX to lower its full-year earnings forecast last quarter. Investors will look for signs of revival in apparel sales. L Brands, which operates in the specialty retail business, is also scheduled to release second-quarter earnings after the market on Wednesday, while on Thursday another global specialty apparel company, Gap Inc, is likely to post second-quarter results. Salesforce.com, a provider of enterprise cloud computing and social enterprise solutions, is expected to post earnings for the second quarter after the bell on Thursday. Intuit is expected to report a quarterly loss during fourth-quarter results on Thursday, hurt by lower demand for its tax-preparation software, TurboTax. The company's fourth and first quarters are seasonally weak as it is the tax filing off-season. Intuit sold its financial services unit last year to focus on expanding its tax-preparation services. The company acquired professional tax filing software provider KDK Softwares in July to expand its accounting and tax services in India. Sears Holdings is expected to report second-quarter results on Thursday. Analysts expect the struggling retailer to post another quarterly loss, despite its attempts to boost cash by selling assets. Sears, which operates namesake department stores and the Kmart discount chain, has been posting declining sales since 2005 and closed about 300 stores since 2010. The company is also looking at selling its 51 percent stake in Sears Canada. Investors will watching out for details of any new plans to raise cash, as well as for Sears' outlook for the year. They will also look for any updates on the company's Shop Your Way membership program and back-to-school plans and how it has tracked so far. According to StarMine, loss is expected to miss the average analyst estimate, but sales are expected to beat on the back of higher discounting and clearance sales. On Wednesday, Sears Canada, the struggling Canadian retailer, is expected to report a loss for the second quarter, hurt by a decline in sales. The retailer's U.S. parent, Sears Holdings, said it was looking to sell its 51 percent stake in the company in May and buyout firm Sycamore Partners is considering a bid for Sears Canada, according to a New York Post report. Sears Canada, whose sales have declined for six straight years, has cut jobs at its outlets and closed some of its non-profitable stores as it copes with stiff competition from U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores. U.S. cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden is expected to report fourth-quarter results before the market opens on Tuesday. The company was in the spotlight after South Korea's LG Household & Healthcare Ltd said it made an offer to takeover the company, but subsequently walked away from the deal after Arden said it would embark on an extensive restructuring process due to mounting losses amid falling perfume sales. The company is trying to exit low-margin businesses and brands to stem the losses and investors will be keen on hearing the progress of such initiatives and whether more cost cuts are planned. According to StarMine, the company is expected to beat on both profits and sales. Chinese solar company Trina Solar is expected to report fourth straight second-quarter profit on Tuesday, helped by strong demand from China and Japan and higher panel prices. The company is likely to be less affected by U.S. tariffs on Chinese and Taiwanese than its rivals. The company will have to pay combined tariffs of 23 percent on products made in China, versus an average of about 31 percent for the industry. Investors will be looking to see if the lower tariff will help the company raise its market share in the United States. Another Chinese solar company, JA Solar, is expected to report third straight second-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by higher panel prices and robust demand. The main economic event for Canada next week will be the release of July's consumer price index on Friday. The annual inflation rate is expected to edge down to 2.3 percent after hitting a 28-month high of 2.4 percent in June. Despite the decline, that will still leave inflation above the Bank of Canada's 2 percent target. The core annualized rate, which strips out volatile items and is closely watched by the central bank, is forecast to hold steady at 1.8 percent. The Bank of Canada, which has repeatedly flagged its concerns about the risks of low inflation, has said that the recent surge in inflation Canada has seen is temporary. June retail sales, which will also be released on Friday, are expected to moderate, with economists forecasting a 0.3 percent increase after May's 0.7 percent gain. Mexican GDP data on Thursday is expected to show that Latin America's No. 2 economy grew 0.8 percent in the second quarter, a Reuters poll showed, up from a 0.3 percent rate in the first quarter. Factory output has picked up, but domestic demand has remained sluggish. Weak data could push the government to revise down its growth outlook of 2.7 percent for 2014. June economic activity, also on Thursday, will show if domestic demand is picking up at the end of the quarter. Inflation data for early August on Friday will show if the annual pace of consumer price gains has risen further above the central bank's 4 percent ceiling. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is scheduled to release on Tuesday its final report into last year's fatal Lac-Megantic disaster, when a runaway train carrying crude jumped the rails and blew up in a small Quebec town, killing 47 people. The TSB is likely to focus on the braking system of the train and the fact the train only one had engineer on duty at the time of the disaster. Separately, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt will react to a Transportation Safety Board of Canada report. She may outline what the government plans to do to address the TSB's recommendations. Monday, Aug. 18 Teen apparel retailer Urban Outfitters is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the market. The company reported a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit as costs jumped and tough competition forced the retailer to spend more on marketing. National Association of Home Builders is scheduled to release the index of homebuilder confidence for the month of August. Homebuilder sentiment rose in July to a six-month high as the view on both current and expected sales brightened. (1000/1400) Chinese solar company JinkoSolar is expected to report a higher second-quarter profit, helped by robust demand from China and Japan. However, investors will be looking for details on the company's plans to tackle the U.S. market, where there are anti-dumping duties on solar products made in China and Taiwan. JinkoSolar has been expanding into Asia, Europe and Latin America, and investors will want to know if these markets will help the company offset the impact of U.S. tariffs. They will also look for additional details on the company's plans to finance its solar projects. Statistics Canada is scheduled to release June's data for foreign acquisitions of Canadian securities. Foreigners bought C$21.43 billion of Canadian securities in May, the highest since May 2012. (0830/1230) Chile's central bank is likely to give its reading for second-quarter GDP. The bank recently cut its full-year forecast to 2.5-3.5 percent from 3-4 percent, and recent data suggest it will likely be weak against a continued slowdown. The bank has said recovery won't happen until the fourth quarter. (0830/1230) (All analysts' estimates are according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/) (Compiled by Sourav Bose in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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