What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Friday, Feb 26

Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:29pm EST
 
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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 U.S. Commerce Department's second estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product will
likely show the economy expanded at a 0.4 percent annual rate, compared with the 0.7 percent
pace reported last month. (0830/1330) Also, the Commerce Department is expected to report that
consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in January after being flat in December. The report will
probably show an uptick in inflation pressures last month. (1000/1500)

J.C. Penney Co Inc is likely to report a fourth-quarter profit above analysts' average estimate,
according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Unlike its upmarket rivals, the company reported strong
sales in the holiday shopping months of November and December, helped by higher online sales and
strong demand for the company's private-label offerings and gift products. However, there are
fears that sales in January slowed, partly due to Winter Storm Jonas. The company said earlier
this month that it was pursuing a sale and partial leaseback of its headquarters in Texas to
reduce debt and costs.

Federal Reserve governors Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard as well as San Francisco Fed President
John Williams and the European Central Bank's Peter Praet will speak on: "Language after
Liftoff: Fed Communication Away from the Zero Lower Bound" before the 2016 U.S. Monetary Policy
Forum in New York. The annual event features Federal Reserve governors and presidents who will
critique the effectiveness of their ability to communicate with the markets, the public, and
Congress. Five top economists will present research on the language the central bank has used to
explain policy decisions, and what can be done to make it better. Even as it has taken steps to
be more transparent, like Chair Janet Yellen's regular press conferences and testimonies, the
Fed has faced sharp criticism from markets for confusing signals on interest rates and from
lawmakers for perceived secrecy. Some analysts have proposed ditching forecasts - known as
"dots" - that are meant to predict the path of rates, while some Fed officials have sought to
improve them. The Fed has meanwhile tried to avoid a repetition of so-called forward guidance
that hinged policy changes to calendar dates and economic guideposts.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc will report fourth-quarter results and provide an update on its
full-year financial forecast. The U.S. hotel operator is also expected to announce plans to spin
off some or all of the hotel properties that it owns into a real estate investment trust, a move
that will help it save on corporate income taxes and return more cash to shareholders. Hilton,
which operates the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotel chains, owns or leases 144 hotel properties
around the world that analysts have said could be worth more than $10 billion. 

Magna International Inc is expected to report a lower quarterly profit, hurt by higher costs and
technical issues at its factories in North America. The focus, when it releases its
fourth-quarter results, will be on the company's plan to make more acquisitions, after buying
German transmission parts maker Getrag last year. Investors will also be keen on the company's
strategies to grow in new technologies such as driver assistance features that are increasingly
popular in the market for connected cars, which hook up with wireless networks.

Canadian oil producer Husky Energy Inc is expected to post a loss in the fourth quarter,
compared with a year-ago profit, hurt by lower oil prices. The company has scrapped dividend and
cut capital spending to weather the prolonged oil price slump. Investors' focus this quarter
will be on the company's plan to sell assets and other cost-cutting measures. 

Economists predict Mexico's jobless rate for January to be 4.4 percent, up from the headline
unadjusted rate of 3.96 percent in November. (0900/1400) Also, the trade balance data for
January will show if factory exports are picking up or not after recent weakness due to uneven
U.S. demand.

LIVECHAT - THE WEEKAHEAD with Reuters markets editor Mike Dolan
Join Mike Dolan as he goes through the key macroeconomic and political themes for the coming
week at 0500/1000. To join the Global Markets Forum, click here bit.ly/1kTxdKD

 (Compiled By Nayyar Rasheed in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)