What to Watch in the Week Ahead and on Monday, Feb. 2
(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) Holiday season visitors to theme parks are likely to help drive Dow component Walt Disney Co's profit for the first quarter. Wall Street expects the media company to report earnings per share of $1.08 on Tuesday, up from $1.03 a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Hurt by generic competition for its Singulair asthma drug and its Nasonex allergy treatment, Merck & Co is expected to report lower fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Investors will be paying far greater attention to the No. 2 U.S. drugmaker's earnings forecast for 2015, and whether it will be badly dented by negative effects of the stronger dollar. Focus will also be on company's comments on progress in testing its array of experimental drugs, especially its cancer treatments that work by harnessing the immune system. General Motors Co is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Wednesday and investors will be watching to see how the No. 1 U.S. automaker ended the year. They will look for answers on pricing at home and updates on the company's outlook to return to profits in Europe in 2016. Employment, automobile sales and manufacturing data will offer fresh clues on how the economy fared in early 2015. Auto manufacturers are expected to report on Tuesday that sales dipped to 16.6 million units in January from 16.9 million units in December. The ADP National employment report on Wednesday will likely show private payrolls rose 225,000 in January after rising 241,000 in December. Also on Wednesday, the Institute for Supply Managers' services sector index is forecast to be little changed at 56.4 in January. On Thursday, the Commerce Department is expected report that the trade deficit narrowed to $38 billion in December from $39 billion in November. The Labor Department's employment report on Friday is likely to show nonfarm payrolls increased 235,000 in January after rising 252,000 in December. The unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at a 6-1/2 year low of 5.6 percent. Corporate networking website LinkedIn Corp's fourth-quarter results are expected to trump Wall Street expectations on Thursday, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The company has been benefiting from a booming hiring business, as more employers use its services to assess candidates' suitability for jobs. Rapid expansion in international markets such as China is expected to be beneficial. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc is expected on Wednesday to report second-quarter revenue slightly ahead of analysts' average estimate, according to StarMine data. The film and TV company controlled by Rupert Murdoch had a slew of hit film releases during the holiday quarter, such as "Exodus: Gods and Kings" and "Night at the Museum: Secrets of the Tomb". Analysts speculate that despite strong revenue growth, the company's profit could fall due to a strong dollar. For the last couple of quarters, News Corp has been focusing on its book-publishing business to make up for a fall in revenue in its news and information division. How much of that impacted second-quarter results will be evident when the company reports on Thursday. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal is likely to report results below market expectations. The company's bigger news and information unit has been grappling with lower advertising and subscription sales. On Tuesday, biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc reports fourth-quarter results, including sales for its expensive hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni. Investors are looking for information about the level of price discounting Gilead has done to secure formulary placement for its drugs. Competitor AbbVie launched sales of a its hepatitis C regimen late last year and, since then, several pharmacy benefit managers, insurers and other payers have announced contracts favoring one company over the other in terms of reimbursement priority. Sprint Corp, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider is expected to report fourth-quarter results on Thursday, slightly above analysts' expectation. In November, the company had cut its full-year forecast and announced cost-cutting measures, including job cuts. Archer Daniels Midland Co, one of the world's top grain traders, will on Tuesday report fourth-quarter earnings for the first time under the leadership of new chief executive, Juan Luciano. The company's former chief operating officer took charge on Jan. 1. Archer Daniels sold its global chocolate and cocoa business to different buyers in 2014 and paid $3 billion for a European natural flavorings company. Mexico's Cemex, one of the world's biggest cement companies, will report fourth-quarter results on Thursday. The company has benefited in recent quarters from a pickup in building activity in the United States, but the pace of construction in its home market of Mexico has been slow and could still drag on revenue. On Wednesday, a strong dollar is likely to hurt U.S. life insurer Prudential Financial Inc's fourth-quarter results as it earns more than half its revenue from international operations, mainly Japan. Prudential has been pushing to advance its retirement and financial security business. The company could benefit in the coming quarters from a decision by lawmakers to give the Federal Reserve leeway to tailor the capital requirements on big insurers. Rounding out a year in which Aetna faced massive changes in the health insurance market related to the national healthcare reform law, the third-largest insurer will report fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Profit is expected to have fallen during the quarter while revenue will be higher, according to analysts. Separately, Humana Inc is expected to report higher fourth-quarter earnings from a year ago while its annual results may decline due partly to government pressure on payments for Medicare services. The company, which is due to report on Wednesday, has also struggled with the economics of its individual insurance business after the government overhauled the market and introduced new exchanges. Cigna Corp, whose health insurance business is largely tied to the employer-based healthcare market is expected to report higher fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday as the employer market remains stable and government insurance grew. Standard & Poor's parent, McGraw Hill Financial Inc, releases fourth-quarter results on Tuesday and is expected to miss estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Revenue at the company's rating unit, its main business, is expected to drop due to a fall in global debt activity for the fourth quarter. S&P is close to paying about $1.5 billion to settle U.S. government lawsuits over mortgage ratings issued in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Credit rating agency Moody's quarterly results out on Friday are expected to be in line with estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company's bond rating business, which forms the bulk of Moody's revenue, is expected to drop due to a fall in global debt activity for the fourth quarter. Moody's, which authorized a new $1 billion share buyback program recently, also acquired data and analytical tools provider Lewtan Technologies to boost its analytics business. Revenue at U.S. automation and power supply systems maker Emerson Electric Co is expected to slip 0.4 percent when the company reports first-quarter results on Tuesday, according Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Investors will focus on the company's exposure to the slide in oil prices, along with a strengthening dollar's impact on its results. Eaton Corp, a maker of electrical and hydraulic products, reports fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday. The diversified U.S. manufacturer is expected to post a 1.1 percent increase in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Oilfield equipment provider National Oilwell Varco Inc and offshore drilling contractor Noble Corp are expected to report lower fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, amid a steep fall in crude oil prices. On Thursday, onshore rig contractor Patterson-UTI Energy Inc is expected to report a higher fourth-quarter profit, but the focus will be on the company's forecast. Motorola Solutions Inc is expected on Wednesday to report fourth-quarter profit well above analysts' average estimates due to cost cuts. However, the maker of walkie-talkies and radio systems is expected to report lower-than-expected revenue due to weak government spending. The company had said it would cut costs by more than $200 million in 2014 and was on track to save $300 million by the end of 2015. IT services provider Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp is expected to post fourth-quarter revenue marginally above expectations on Wednesday, due to higher spending by financial services and healthcare clients. Earlier this month, India's third-largest IT services exporter Wipro said it expects higher technology spending by western clients to boost sales. On Thursday, video game publisher Activision Blizzard is expected to report fourth-quarter results slightly above analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Titles such as Guitar Hero, Warlords of Draenor and Destiny DLC are expected to boost results. Smaller rival Take-Two Interactive Software Inc is also expected to report third-quarter revenue and profit ahead of the Wall Street's estimate on Tuesday. The company, which raised its fiscal year 2015 forecast last quarter, released four new titles, including "NBA 2K15" and "Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel" in the holiday quarter. Internet radio service provider Pandora Media Inc is likely to report a fourth-quarter profit above average analysts' estimate on Thursday, according to StarMine data. Last quarter, Pandora raised its full-year 2014 revenue and profit forecasts. Norton antivirus software maker Symantec Corp is expected to report third-quarter revenue in line with estimates on Thursday, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Slowing PC sales have hurt its security sales alongside sluggish demand for its storage and data management software. The company said it would split into two publicly traded companies, one focused on security and the other storage and backup, potentially making it more attractive to suitors. Nuance Communications Inc, whose voice recognition software runs Siri on iPhones, is likely to report first-quarter results in line with analysts' expectation on Thursday, according to StarMine. Analysts speculate that Nuance could face growth challenges as it transitions to a subscription-based business model. The company is witnessing an uptick in its healthcare business, driven by an improving U.S. economy and the affordable healthcare act. Beauty products makers Estee Lauder Companies Inc, Coty Inc and Elizabeth Arden Inc report quarterly results on Thursday. Elizabeth Arden is expected to post its first quarterly profit after three straight quarters of loss, as analysts say the company exited the holiday season without carrying over too much inventory. While weak sales of celebrity fragrances such as Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift continue to hurt sales, the company is expected to turn to acquisitions to grow, like Estee Lauder which had four acquisitions last year. Estee Lauder cut its full-year profit and sales growth forecast in November due to weak demand for its skin care products in the United States and China. Both companies are likely to have been hurt by the stronger dollar, which would eat into revenue from international sales and hit sales to tourists in the United States. Market rival Coty Inc is expected to report sales below analysts' estimate, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine. A stronger dollar is likely to have hurt its revenue from international sales, which account for 70 percent of the company's total revenue. Action camera maker GoPro Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter revenue above expectations, according to Starmine data, driven by sales of its recently launched Hero 4 camera. Analysts will be looking for its 2015 forecast when it posts earnings on Thursday, to see if the company can maintain its growth rate. The action camera market is growing increasingly competitive with other companies launching new products at lower price points. Investment bank and asset manager Lazard Ltd will release fourth-quarter results on Thursday and is expected to have benefitted from the big uptick in merger activity. Analysts at Morningstar expect the company to declare a special dividend. Satellite radio service provider Sirius XM Holdings Inc is expected to post fourth-quarter revenue marginally above expectations on Thursday, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine. Earlier this month, the company said it expected to exceed its 2014 outlook. The company also forecast revenue and net subscriber additions for 2015. Under Armour Inc is likely to report a profit above analysts' average estimate when it posts fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday. The sports apparel maker had warned in October that its sales growth would slow next year due to slowing demand for its popular outdoor clothing designed to retain body heat. The company, which gets about 6 percent of its revenue outside the United States, said gross margin would fall in the fourth quarter due, in part, to the stronger dollar. Under Armour dislodged Adidas as the no. 2 sportswear brand in the United States last year, after Nike. Gildan Activewear Inc, the Canadian clothing maker, releases first-quarter results on Wednesday. The company is expected to swing to a quarterly loss after cutting prices at its printwear business to boost demand. Gildan's printwear unit makes T-shirts and other apparel that are imprinted by screenprinters. Its branded clothing line includes Gold Toe socks and Secret and Silks pantyhose. USA Today publisher Gannet Co Inc is expected on Tuesday to report better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue. Gannet has said that it will spin-off its print group. Analysts agree that there is a lack of long term value in the publishing business, which relies too heavily on revenue from local newspapers. Broadcast television may be headed in the same direction as the newspaper business before too long due to the increasing popularity of digital streaming. Meanwhile, same day newspaper publisher New York Times Co is expected to report lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The company warned last quarter that it expected a mid-single digit percentage decrease in advertising revenue. The New York Times, like many newspaper and magazine publishers, has been under relentless pressure to replace an evaporating pool of print advertising dollars with digital ads and money from subscriptions. On Jan. 23, New York Magazine reported on its website that Michael Bloomberg was interested in buying the company. Uranium producer Cameco Corp reports fourth-quarter results on Friday. Investors will be interested in updates on the production ramp-up of its newest mine at Cigar Lake, Saskatchewan. Coal miner Arch Coal Inc is expected to report a lower fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, hurt by lower pricing due to a supply glut and sluggish demand from China, according to analysts. Weak demand from Europe and Asia, especially China, has weighed on metallurgical coal prices, while prices for power-generating thermal coal have been depressed as utilities switch to abundantly available natural gas, a cheaper alternative. Media mogul Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp is expected to post fourth-quarter results above expectations on Tuesday, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The company, which owns mobile dating app Tinder and internet brands such as Investopedia, has been benefiting from higher subscriptions across its dating sites such as OkCupid.com and Match.com. Subscriber growth in video-sharing site Vimeo is also expected to boost revenue. Analysts say Yelp Inc's local advertising business is likely to gain market share, helped by a steadily growing mobile user base. The consumer review website operator is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit well ahead of analysts' expectation on Thursday. Yelp's aggressive promotion of its cost-per-click advertising model has helped it draw more advertising dollars in the last few quarters. Spirit Aerosystems, an aircraft parts maker, is likely to report lower a fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, following the sale of its Gulfstream wings contract to rival Triumph Group in December. Spirit said it would incur a loss of $1.45-$1.65 per share on the transaction and also pay Triumph $160 million. Investors will look for comments on how the sale of the business will play out and the company's guidance for 2015. On Tuesday, Mexico's HSBC PMI indicator will reveal factory sentiment for December after the indicator rose to a two-year high in November. On the same day, Mexico's central bank will release its January growth and inflation survey of analysts, who predicted growth of 2.19 percent last year and 3.5 percent this year in a prior poll. November gross fixed investment data is released on Wednesday and on Friday the national statistics institute will reveal January consumer confidence data. Monday, Feb. 2 Analysts expect Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company, to report lower fourth-quarter earnings as a 30 percent slide in crude cut into profits. Exxon had said its spending peaked in 2013 at $42.5 billion, but investors will be keen to hear any details about how the oil giant is weathering plummeting crude prices. The White House unveils its fiscal 2016 budget. President Barack Obama's budget will call for an increase in domestic and military spending that would end spending caps known as "sequestration," setting up a new source of conflict with Republicans in Congress. Food distributor Sysco Corp's second-quarter profit is expected to be in line with estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Investors will be looking for updates on regulatory approval for the company's proposed $8.2 billion acquisition of US Foods, a deal which will combine the top two U.S. food distributors and create a company commanding at least a quarter of the $235 billion North American market. The Commerce Department issues Personal Income data for December (0830/1330) and later issues Construction Spending for December which is likely to have risen 0.7 percent after falling 0.3 percent in November. (1000/1500) Separately, The Institute for Supply Managers' national factory index is forecast to have slip to 54.5 in January from 55.1 in December. (1000/1500) Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issues its Trimmed Mean PCE price index for December. (1300/1800) Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Executive Vice President David Altig and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Senior Vice President Mine Yucel participate in "The Economic Outlook, Monetary Policy and Energy: Thoughts from Federal Reserve Research Directors " event hosted by the New College of Florida and the Global Interdependence Center in Sarasota. (1730/2230) U.S. miner Cliffs Natural Resources Inc, which sought creditor protection for its Canadian operations last week, is expected to report a smaller fourth-quarter profit, hurt by lower prices for both iron ore and coal. The company said in December that it would record a pretax loss of $375 million to $425 million on the sale of its Logan County coal assets in West Virginia in the fourth quarter. Investors will look for details on further asset sales and debt reduction. Cliffs had total debt of $3.25 billion as of Sept. 30, more than three times its market capitalization. (Compiled By Astha Rawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)
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