What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, March 19

Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:33pm 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)

Footwear retailer Nike Inc is expected to report profit and revenue slightly above analysts'
estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Nike's performance is expected to be driven by
strong sales of its running and basketball shoes, particularly the Flyknit and Jordan series, as
well as continued demand for athletic apparel. However, analysts believe worries about slowing
growth in orders, an indicator of demand, in Western Europe and emerging markets may be
exacerbated by the strong dollar. Investors will look for the company's initial 2015 forecast
and comments about the overall industry.
    
U.S. homebuilder Lennar Corp is expected to report a rise in first-quarter profit, helped by
improving housing demand, but margins could take a hit due to rising labor and material costs.
The company had earlier warned of lower margins in 2015 largely due to weak demand from Texas,
one of its largest markets. Lennar has so far been able to raise prices despite a choppy
recovery in the U.S. housing market as it mainly caters to buyers looking to upgrade to bigger
homes. Investors will be interested to see if the company manages to raise prices again this
quarter and hear its comments on its outlook for the year.
    
The U.S. Commerce Department is scheduled to release current account figures for the fourth
quarter. The current account deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments
into and out of the country, is expected to widen further to $103.2 billion after rising to
$100.3 billion in the third quarter. (0830/1230)
    
The Labor Department issues its weekly update on new applications for unemployment insurance
claims, which likely climbed last week. Continued claims are however expected to fall as the
overall labor market continues to improve. Despite the expected increase in unemployment
insurance applications for the latest week, claims remain consistent with a firming labor
market. (0830/1230) Later, the Conference Board is scheduled to issue its Leading Economic Index
for February. A gauge of future economic activity rose 0.2 percent, according to economists
polled by Reuters. (1000/1400) Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is expected to
issue the Business Outlook Survey for March. (1000/1400)
    
Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo is scheduled to testify before a Senate Banking
Committee hearing on "Examining the Regulatory Regime for Regional Banks". (1000 /1400) The Fed
and lawmakers largely agree that Wall Street needs tough oversight, and small banks need more
regulation relief. But they disagree on certain aspects pertaining to regional banks - mid-sized
lenders such as PNC that probably aren't too big to fail, but aren't insignificant either.
Republican lawmakers, led by Senate banking chairman Richard Shelby, are pushing for regulation
relief for U.S. banks, and while the Fed and Democrats support some of those efforts, they will
fight hard to prevent any major dilution of Dodd-Frank financial industry reforms.

 (Compiled by Astha Rawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)