What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, June 18

Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:13pm 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) The Labor Department issues consumer price index data for May, which is expected to have increased 0.5 percent, compared with a 0.1 percent pace in April. (0830/1230) The department also releases weekly jobless claims data. Analysts polled initial claims to have dropped 4000 to a seasonally adjusted 275,000 in the week from 279,000 in the previous week. (0830/1230) Separately, the Commerce Department issues current account data for the first quarter. The deficit is expected to have increased to $116.8 billion from $113.5 billion in the previous quarter. (0830/1230) In another report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issues its Business Outlook Survey for June, which is likely to have increased to 8.0 from 6.7 in May. (1000/1400) Also, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for May is expected to have increased 0.4 percent, slower than the 0.7 percent rise in April. (1000/1400)

Kroger Co, the operator of Harris Teeter and Ralphs supermarket chains, is likely to report first-quarter profit and sales above analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Kroger cut prices of natural and organic goods in the quarter in markets that have traditionally experienced less demand for such goods. It also cut prices of milk. Investor will want to see whether the price cuts helped move the needle for sales in the quarter.

Red Hat Inc reports first-quarter results. The world's largest commercial distributor of the Linux operating system is expected to report revenue marginally above analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Red Hat had forecast profit in line with analysts' estimates, despite warning that the strong dollar was hurting revenue.

Rite Aid Corp, the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain, is expected to post a rise in first-quarter sales, helped by strong prescription sales, keeping it on track for a successful turnaround. The company has been remodeling stores and has renewed a sourcing and distribution agreement with McKesson Corp. Analysts say Rite Aid's recent acquisition of EnvisionRx will help its expansion plan. Furthermore, Rite Aid is an attractive target for bigger players Walgreens and CVS Corp. Investors will be keen on any comments on mergers and on the company's full-year forecast.

Fitbit Inc, a wearable fitness tracking device maker, is expected to start trading on the NYSE. The company makes both wrist bands and clippable devices that monitor a user's fitness activity by tracking the calories burned or distance covered, among other things. Fitbit faces stiff competition from fitness-device makers such as Garmin, Jawbone, Misfit. But its biggest challenger could be Apple's recently launched Apple Watch, which has a host of health-related features and apps. Fitbit's revenue almost tripled to $745.4 million in 2014 and it posted a profit of $131.8 million.

Univar Inc, the largest chemical distributor in North America, is expected to start trading on the NYSE. Univar, whose stakeholders include private equity firms CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, is selling 20 million shares in an upsized offering of 35 million shares. At the top end of the expected price range, the company would be valued at about $3.03 billion.

Mexico's central bank will publish the minutes of its June policy meeting. The central bank will reveal whether policymakers were unanimous in their decision to hold interest rates at a record low of 3 percent, pointing to sluggish economic growth while noting that inflation pressures remained muted following a deep slump in the peso.

LIVECHAT: BOND MARKETS - Booming and busting bond markets with Jim Bianco This year has seen shocking swings in bond markets, with huge rallies and routs causing headaches for investors and policymakers alike. Bianco Research's Jim Bianco joins the forum on Thursday at 10 AM with insights as to how bonds will react to lift-off. To join the forum, click here, bit.ly/1kTxdKD (Compiled by Nivedita Balu; Editing by Savio D'Souza)