What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, Dec 17

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New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits likely fell last week, pointing to a steadily
firming labor market. According to a Reuters survey of economists, initial claims for state
jobless benefits probably slipped to 275,000 from 282,000. (0830/1330) Meanwhile, the Commerce
Department will issue current account data for the third quarter. The current account deficit,
which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, is
expected to have expanded to $118.0 billion from $109.7 billion in the second quarter.

Consulting and outsourcing services provider Accenture Plc is expected to report first-quarter
earnings slightly above analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company
is likely to have benefited from growth in its high-margin consulting business, particularly in
North America. Investors will focus on the company's full-year outlook as rival Infosys trimmed
its full-year dollar revenue forecast in October.

General Mills Inc, maker of Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mixes, is expected to report
second-quarter profit slightly above analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters
StarMine. The company said this month it completed the sale of Green Giant frozen foods and Le
Sueur canned vegetables brands to snack food maker B&G Foods. General Mills, which plans on
closing facilities in the UK and New Zealand, has said it will remove artificial colors and
flavors from its cereals and also offer gluten-free cereals as part of a plan to boost sales of
natural and organic foods. Investors will look out for further divestitures or acquisitions and
the company's plans to bring down costs.

Drugstore operator Rite Aid Corp reports third-quarter results. Rite Aid in October agreed to be
acquired by Walgreens Boots Alliance for $9.4 billion, combining two of the three biggest U.S.
drugstore operators. Rite Aid in September cut its full-year forecasts for total earnings and
drugstore sales, citing lower pharmacy reimbursements and expenses related to its $2
billion-acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager EnvisionRx. Analysts will be looking for updates
on the deal, which is likely to face tough antitrust scrutiny, and comments on pressure from low
pharmacy reimbursement rates as generic drug prices go up.

Largest U.S. motorhome maker Winnebago Industries Inc is expected to report a slight rise in
first-quarter revenue as RV shipments rise. However, profit is expected to be flat. Investors
will be looking to see if the company was able to contain its expenses it has been incurring due
to worker shortage and comments on its financial forecast for the current quarter. The company
has also been facing lower prices for motorhomes, hurting its margins.

Delta Air Lines Inc, the third-largest U.S. airline, hosts its annual investor day in New York.
While Delta has offset its tax payments for years thanks to operating losses a decade ago, it
will have to pay its effective tax rate of about 38 percent in cash likely after 2017. Analysts
expect Delta to outline plans to lower this rate, potentially through off-shoring profits it
shares with foreign airline partners such as Air France-KLM SA and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd.
A move to pay fewer taxes could spark a U.S. political backlash, a year after the Obama
administration made it tougher for businesses to reincorporate abroad and realize the tax
benefits of doing so.

Brazil's unemployment rate probably continued to increase in November as the recession sinks in.
It is expected to have increased to 8.0 percent from 7.9 percent in October. Separately,
Mexico's central bank will release its benchmark rates. Investors will be interested in how
Banco de Mexico will move on key rates, which was at a record low of 3 percent, after the U.S.
Federal Reserve's stance on interest rate hike. Meanwhile, Chile's central bank meets to decide
the benchmark rate. The market is split on whether the bank will raise rates by 25 basis points
to contain inflation or leave easing in place to stimulate the still flagging economy. 

Brazil central bank president, Alexandre Tombini, and the other members of the board will meet
for a year-end gathering. Tombini may use the meeting to send a message to markets at a time
when most investors expect policymakers to end a short pause and raise rates again in January.

The Bank of Japan is widely expected to keep monetary policy steady at the two-day rate review
ending on Friday. Investors will be interested in how the Fed's rate decision could affect BOJ
policy and its outlook on Japan's economy.

LIVECHAT: CURRENCY MARKETS with Ilya Spivak, currency analyst, Daily FX and LOCK, STOCK AND
BARREL - OIL MARKETS with Amanda Cooper
Ilya Spivak, currency analyst at Daily FX, joins to discuss the outlook for FX markets in the
wake of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and as the trading year draws to a close.
(0500/1000) Separately, join former Global Markets Forum (GMF) editor Amanda Cooper for a quick
weekly round up of the main themes driving oil markets. (0900/1400) To join the GMF, click here

 (Compiled by Sourav Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)