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

Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:31pm EDT
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(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.   Continued...