What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, July 23

Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:00pm 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)

Visa Inc, the world's largest credit and debit card company, is expected to report a third-quarter profit, helped by higher U.S. consumer spending boosted by lower gasoline prices and a strong labor market. U.S. consumer spending recorded its largest increase in nearly six years in May on strong demand for automobiles and other big-ticket items. EU antitrust regulators are probing Visa International's inter-regional card fees, after accusing MasterCard of levying excessive fees, earlier in July.

E-commerce company Amazon.com Inc is expected to report second-quarter revenue marginally above estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, helped by growth in Amazon Web Services and sales in North America. The company broke out financial details of the cloud computing unit, a $5 billion business, for the first time last quarter. The company is expected to continue to report a loss, as it invests in products and services that ranged from Hollywood-style television productions to drone delivery and streaming video-calls.

Second-quarter sales of McDonald's Corp are expected to beat Wall Street estimates as the fast food chain's turnaround efforts gain traction. Steve Easterbrook, who took the helm in March, has been working to reorganize some business units, sell restaurants to franchisees and cut costs to turn the fast-food giant into a "modern, progressive burger company". Investors will look out for any updates to its turnaround plans and any forecast.

Dow company 3M Co is expected to post second-quarter earnings of nearly $2 per share on $7.83 billion in revenue, amid a shaky global economy that is causing concern for multinational companies. The company, whose shares have fallen some 5 percent this year, last month struck its biggest-ever acquisition to boost its presence in worker protection gear.

Mining and construction machinery maker Caterpillar Inc is scheduled to release second-quarter earnings. Hurt by downturns in the previously profitable mining sector, the company has made labor cuts in both U.S. and international factories. Last quarter, CEO Doug Oberhelman said the remaining 2015 quarters' sales and profit will be lower than the first quarter. Analysts look for mostly flat results as a potentially better construction industries outlook will likely be overshadowed by soft revenue in the company's resources industries.

The U.S. Labor Department issues weekly unemployment data. The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits is expected to have slightly declined by 1000 to 280,000. (0830/1230) In another report, the Conference Board is likely to show a 0.2 percent rise in its Leading Economic Index for June, after increasing 0.7 percent in May. (1000/1400)

AT&T Inc, the No.2 U.S. carrier, will report second-quarter earnings as its proposed $48.5 billion deal to buy DirecTV is expected to be approved by regulators. Investors will keep an eye out for any impact of heated telecom industry competition on margins and subscriber metrics in addition to details on conditions imposed by the FCC on the DirecTV merger.

Eli Lilly and Co, helped by cost cuts and new treatments for cancer and diabetes, is expected to report second-quarter earnings growth despite the stronger dollar and generic competition for its Cymbalta depression drug. The drugmaker, which has vowed to return to profit growth in 2015 following three years of patent expirations on its biggest products, is expected to outline research progress for many of its experimental medicines. Also, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is expected to report lower second-quarter earnings and sales, hurt by the end of a longstanding agreement under which it had sold blockbuster schizophrenia drug Abilify in partnership with Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Holdings Co. Investors will be far more intent on how Bristol's respected array of cancer immunotherapies are faring in clinical trials and whether its recently approved Opdivo is on track to meet sales expectations of $750 million this year, growing to $3.75 billion by 2017. Biotechnology company Celgene Corp pre-reported second-quarter results and provided updated 2015 and longer-range forecasts. However investors will be looking for fresh management comment on its recent spate of deals, including taking a $1 billion stake in Juno Therapeutics and a $7.2 billion acquisition of Receptos Inc. Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc reports second-quarter results. The acquisitive company has been linked to reports that have it buying Zoetis and CEO Mike Pearson's comments about M&A plans are usually the headline from Valeant conference calls.   Continued...