What to Watch in the Week Ahead and on Monday, Feb. 2

Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:02pm EST
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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
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
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)