What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, Dec. 4
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The U.S. Labor Department releases data on how many Americans are filing new claims for unemployment benefits. Initial claims increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 313,000 for the week ended Nov. 22, the first-time since early September that claims broke above the 300,000 threshold (0830/1330). Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, is expected to report a third-quarter profit that beats the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company raised its full-year profit forecast in September, boosted by the acquisitions of Harris Teeter Supermarkets and online vitamin and supplements seller Vitacost.com. However, it said sales were expected to remain slow in the second half as it did not expect consumer spending to pick up. But larger rivals Wal-Mart and Target bucked several quarters of slow same-store sales, helped by a drop in gasoline prices and higher discounting in the third quarter. Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard speaks on "Financial Stability" before the 2014 Financial Stability Conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Treasury Office of Financial Research (1315/1815). Separately, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher gives a Texas economic update with comments about monetary policy before the Dallas Business Club in Dallas. Sears Holdings Corp, owner of Sears department stores and Kmart discount chain, releases third-quarter results. The company reported its ninth straight quarterly loss in the second quarter as sales continued to fall and the retailer said it might close more stores than planned this year. Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada's No.2 lender, is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit. The bank's bottom line has been boosted in recent quarters by gains at its core Canadian retail business and the impact of buoyant capital markets on its investment banking and trading arm. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canada's No.5 lender, is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit. The bank has benefited in recent quarters from strong gains at its wealth management and investment dealer divisions. But investors will be closely watching results at its retail and business banking arm, which was hit by last year's sale of about half of its Aeroplan Visa credit card portfolio. Dollar General Corp, the No.1 U.S. deep-discount retailer, is expected to have benefited from lower gas prices in the third quarter. Investors will look out for updates on its bid to takeover smaller rival Family Dollar, with a particular interest on comments about the FTC's ongoing review. Barnes & Noble Inc, the largest bookstore chain in the U.S. is expected to report profit above analysts' estimates in second-quarter results, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company, which said it would spin off its Nook Media business in 2015, has been offering discounts on popular books and has added gifts and home goods to its stores in addition to improving the presentation of popular books to drive traffic to its stores. The company said in September that sales would be helped by higher demand for young adult and children's books. Finisar Corp, a network communication equipment maker, is expected to report revenue and profit marginally above estimates for the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. While the company's telecom business has been struggling, in the data com segment, the company has been seeing strong demand for its products. Finisar has also been seeing good demand for certain products, particularly in China. Canada's Ivey Purchasing Managers Index data is scheduled to be released. The pace of purchasing activity in Canada cooled last month as measures of employment and supplier deliveries contracted. The seasonally adjusted index fell to 51.2 in October from September's 58.6. Canadian clothing maker Gildan Activewear Inc is expected to post a higher fourth-quarter profit, helped by an increase in sales from its printwear business and branded apparel. The company is also expected to have benefited from lower cotton costs during the third quarter. Gildan acquired a Canadian hosiery company, Doris Inc, to add to its own list of brands such as Gold Toe socks and Gildan underwear. Investors will look for comments around the company's new product line such as Gildan Platinum and an update on costs due to expansion of retail business, which weighed on the company's earnings last quarter. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. The Governor will discuss energy, trade issues, job creation, and the New Jersey-Canada partnership. The U.S. Justice Department and Georgetown Law will host an all-day cybercrime conference, with the head of the DOJ's criminal division penciled in as a speaker. Other panels are also scheduled to discuss emerging trends in cybercrime and how law enforcement is adapting to increased privacy restrictions on cell phones, among other topics. European Central Bank announces interest rate decision and ECB President Mario Draghi presides over a press conference after that. Despite a rising threat of deflation, the European Central Bank probably won't announce more stimulus measures, according to euro money market traders polled by Reuters. Plunging oil and commodity prices have raised fears of deflation, especially in the euro zone, where inflation fell back to September's five-year low in November. That makes looser monetary policy more likely. But none of the 17 traders polled expected such a move during the ECB's last meeting in 2014 (0745/1245). Bank of England concludes its Monetary Policy Committee meeting. The first hike in British interest rates will now come in the third quarter of next year, six months later than previously thought, owing to low inflation, sluggish pay growth and a weak euro zone economy, a Reuters poll found (0700/1200). Bank of Japan board member Takehiro Sato speaks to business leaders in Kochi. Sato was among the four board members who dissented to the BOJ's decision to ease monetary policy on Oct. 31. The focus will be on the reason for his dissent and the possibility of continued opposition to future quantitative and qualitative easing as the steady fall in oil prices keep alive expectations of yet more monetary loosening. The BOJ's take on Moody's decision to cut Japan's sovereign debt rating will also be watched out for. Moody's had warned that the BOJ's success in accelerating inflation to 2 percent would push up bond yields and the cost of financing the country's massive public debt. (Compiled by Astha Rawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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