Week Ahead

The US earnings season continues next week, with companies such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Facebook reporting their first-quarter results and updating guidance on full-year expectations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, central bank policy meetings in the US, Eurozone and Japan will be keenly watched as well as GDP data for the US and Eurozone and PMI survey for China. Other key economic data include US personal income and outlays, ISM Manufacturing PMI and construction spending; Eurozone business survey and inflation; Japan consumer confidence and industrial output; and Australia inflation data.

In the US, Federal Reserve policymakers are seen holding interest rates at current levels when they meet on Wednesday, with all eyes on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference and the latest FOMC economic projections for further details about future policy steps. In March, officials lowered the target range for its federal funds rate by 150bps to 0-0.25 percent and launched a massive quantitative easing program in an attempt to support the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ GDP figures will probably show the US economy contracted 4 percent during the first quarter, amid efforts to contain the rapid spread of the pandemic. Other notable publications include: personal income and outlays; PCE price index; ISM Manufacturing PMI; construction spending; first-quarter employment cost index; CB consumer confidence; pending home sales; Case-Shiller home prices; Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index; Chicago PMI; and the advance estimates of goods trade balance and wholesale inventories.

Investors will also be closely monitoring the busiest week of the earnings season, with focus turning to reports from big firms including Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Qualcomm, Pfizer, Merck, Tesla, Ford, Boeing, Pepsi, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Caterpillar. Top US oil producers Exxon Mobil and Chevron will also report first-quarter financial results.

Elsewhere in America, important data to follow include Canada monthly GDP and Markit Manufacturing PMI; Mexico first-quarter GDP, unemployment and trade balance; and Brazil jobless rate.

In the UK, the Bank of England will be publishing its monetary indicators, while the CBI releases its gauge for distributive trades. Elsewhere in Europe, the ECB will be deciding on monetary policy in a week that will see the publication of preliminary first-quarter GDP estimates for the Eurozone, including releases for France, Spain and Italy. The bloc’s economy is seen contracting at a record pace during the first quarter as the Covid-19 pandemic forced governments across the region to impose strict measures to contain the outbreak. Investors will also keep an eye on the Eurozone business survey, inflation rate and unemployment; Germany and Spain retail sales and jobless rates; France jobless benefit claims and consumer morale; Italy unemployment; Switzerland KOF leading indicators and retail trade; Sweden’s interest rate decision; and Turkey trade balance.

In China, the NBS PMI survey will probably point to a slowdown in factory output growth due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan will hold its monetary policy meeting on Thursday, but no changes are expected. Investors in Japan will also turn their attention to March’s preliminary industrial production, retail sales, consumer confidence, unemployment rate, housing starts, and Tokyo inflation rate.

In Australia, the Ai Group will be releasing its factory index. Other important data include first-quarter consumer and producer prices, private sector credit, and HIA new home sales. Traders in South Korea will focus on consumer and business confidence, trade balance, industrial production and retail sales.

Other key data for the Asia-Pacific region include: New Zealand trade balance, ANZ business confidence and ANZ Roy Morgan consumer confidence; Taiwan first-quarter GDP advance estimate; Hong Kong foreign trade; Thailand industrial output; Vietnam industrial production and trade balance; and Singapore first-quarter unemployment rate.

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