What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, Jan 28
(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) Microsoft Corp is expected to report second-quarter revenue slightly above analysts average estimate. Under Chief Executive Satya Nadella, the company has been shifting its focus to software and cloud services as demand for the Windows operating system slows. The company has also been cutting costs and streamlining its operations to focus on more lucrative businesses. Investor will look for the magnitude of impact from the weakness in PC market and a strong dollar. Amazon.com Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter revenue slightly above analysts estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The beat, which will be the fourth in a row, piggybacks on strong holiday sales that are expected to have garnered an estimated 43 percent of all online sales in November and December, according to research firm Slice Intelligence. The company, which has struggled with profitability while spending to expand beyond its core online marketplace offerings, is also expected to report a profit for the third straight quarter as it continues to cut costs. Analysts estimate Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud computing business, to post as much as 70 percent revenue growth as it continues to add customers. Visa Inc is expected to report a jump in first-quarter earnings, boosted by higher volumes. However, some analysts have expressed concerns that Visa, which gets a large chunk of revenue from outside the United States, could take a blow from the strong dollar and falling oil prices. According to some analysts, MasterCard's entry into China could push costs up during the period, and will continue to do so for the year. U.S. Commerce Department issues durable goods orders for December. Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods likely fell in December as the sector continued to battle a strong dollar and slowing global demand. Ongoing efforts by businesses to reduce an inventory overhang and spending cuts in the energy sector are also undermining factory activity. A Reuters survey forecast durable goods orders slipped 0.6 percent last month after being unchanged in November. (0830/1330) Separately, a U.S. Labor Department report is expected to show new applications for unemployment benefits fell to 282,000 last week from 293,000 the prior week. (0830/1330) Also, the National Association of Realtors will issue Pending Home Sales Index for December which likely is to have risen 0.8 percent, compared with a 0.9 percent slip in November. (1000/1500) Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, is expected to report higher fourth-quarter sales and profit. Investors will be looking for any update on the company's seemingly conservative 2016 forecast, which it issued in October. There will also be interest in any color Amgen provides on the ongoing launch of the high profile cholesterol treatment Repatha and strategy to bring a biosimilar of AbbVie's Humira to market. Eli Lilly and Co is likely to report fourth-quarter revenue in line with expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The drugmaker said earlier in the month that its Jardiance diabetes treatment grabbed market share during the quarter even as it forecast 2016 revenue below expectations. Lilly has been struggling with declining sales and earnings since 2011 after sales of its biggest products plunged due to competition from cheaper generics. Time Warner Cable Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter revenue and profit below analysts average estimates. The company, which is being bought by Charter Communications, is under pressure from shareholders to sell or spin off HBO. Investors will be looking for updates on the closing of the Charter deal and also if the company is capable of stemming an exodus of video subscribers. Abbott Laboratories Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter profit and revenue just below estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, as it continues to remodel itself following the spinoff of AbbVie in 2013. Investors will be looking for more color on the likely trajectory of Abbott's sales in emerging markets, which account for more than half its revenue, and potential M&A when the drug-maker reports. Ford Motor Co is expected to report record pre-tax profits for 2015, excluding one-time items. Investors will focus on the automaker's projections for 2016, looking for any change from the outlook company executives presented on Jan. 12 that said 2016 pre-tax profits would be "at least as high" as last year. Ford said it expects higher costs in North America and cautioned that it could be difficult to expand North American operating margins, projected at 9.5 percent "or better" for 2016. Celgene is likely to report fourth-quarter earnings below analysts estimate for the first time in eight quarters, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, due to lower sales of its key cancer drugs. The drugmaker, which said earlier in January that Chief Executive Bob Hugin would step down in March, has forecast 2016 sales and earnings slightly below Wall Street expectations. Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, which is awaiting regulatory approval for its merger with bigger rival Halliburton, is expected to report a fourth-quarter loss, compared with a year-ago profit. The company is struggling to cope with a steep fall in drilling activity, caused by persistently low crude prices. Johnson Controls, which has agreed to buy Ireland-based peer Tyco, is expected to report a rise in first-quarter profit helped by higher demand for its heating and cooling systems. The company will complete the spin off its automotive seating and interiors business into a publicly traded company, called Adient, in October. The makeover, de-emphasizing JCI's ties to the automotive industry and its boom-and-bust cycles, has been ongoing for a couple of years. JCI, based in Wisconsin, has a global footprint and is going to focus its investments in higher-margin HVAC building efficiency and battery businesses, which should be bolstered by the merger with Tyco. HCA Holdings Inc, the largest for-profit U.S. hospital operator, is likely to report better-than-expected earnings, helped by greater patient volumes and improved expense control. The company expects the Affordable Care Act to drive further growth in 2016 as Americans sign up for insurance coverage through exchanges created under the law. Transatlantic exchange operator Nasdaq Inc is expected to report higher fourth-quarter financial results from a year ago, as revenues from increased equity trading volumes help offset a decline in equity derivative trading. Nasdaq may also give updates on its acquisition of trading platform Chi-X Canada and its new U.S.-based energy futures trading venue. Hershey Co is likely to report sales below analysts average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company was forced to reduce its sales forecast for the year five times due to weak demand in North America and slow growth in China. The China business may have worsened in the quarter, while the response to new products such as Hershey Caramels and Ice Breakers Cool Blasts in the domestic market has also not been as robust as expected by the company. Refiner Valero Energy is expected to report a rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by weak oil prices. Investors will be on the lookout for any comments on the impact of the end a four-decade ban on exports of U.S. crude oil. Valero had opposed the ending of the export ban. Helmerich & Payne is expected to report a first-quarter loss, compared with a year-ago profit, hurt by the early terminations of U.S. land rig contracts and falling rates for rigs. Analysts have said the driller will be forced to cut its dividend if domestic rig count continues to fall. The company has been shielded from the oil price downturn to an extent because of robust demand for its high-tech rigs, but that advantage seems to be waning now. Sports and athletic apparel maker Under Armour Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter profit below analysts estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. While its sales are estimated to rise more than 20 percent, the company expects the strong dollar, higher costs and spending hurt gross margins in the quarter. The company has spent close to $1 billion on its fitness and activity-tracking platforms, and is spending on marketing and reducing turnaround times for its merchandise. Harman International Industries Inc, the maker of JBL and Harman Kardon audio systems, is expected to report a second-quarter profit above analysts average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company has benefited from strong demand from automakers for its "connected cars" products. Harman, earlier this month, agreed to buy Israeli-founded cyber defense start-up TowerSec to boost security of its offerings designed for connected vehicles. Investors will be looking for any fallout from Volkswagen AG's emission scandal. Video game maker Electronic Arts is expected to report third-quarter revenue and profit above expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. EA is expected to benefit from strong digital sales of its "Star Wars Battlefront" videogame, which it released in November after three years of development. Despite receiving lukewarm reviews, the game is expected to be a commercial hit. Investors and analysts will look for whether the company will raise or cut its estimate of selling 13 million units of the game for the fiscal year. Amid sliding prices of fertilizers, Potash Corp reports fourth-quarter results and offers guidance for the year ahead. Comments on the company's expectations for a supply contract with Chinese buyers, which usually sets a global price floor, will be keenly watched. Canadian Oil Sands is expected to post a fourth-quarter loss, compared with a year-ago profit, hurt by a steep decline in oil prices, which has also rattled the Canadian economy. Canada's largest oil producer Suncor Energy on Jan. 18 reached a deal to buy Canadian Oil Sands by raising its all-stock offer, ending a months-long battle. Analysts will seek more details on the deal. LIVECHAT-LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL: OIL MARKETS with Amanda Cooper Join former Global Markets Forum editor Amanda Cooper for a weekly round-up of the main themes driving oil markets (0900 ET/1400 GMT) To join the Global Markets Forum, click here bit.ly/1kTxdKD (Compiled by Astha Rawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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