What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Wednesday, May 6

Tue May 5, 2015 2:58pm 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)

A survey of private payrolls for April will give an early snapshot into the larger employment situation ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday. Private payrolls processor ADP is expected to report that private firms added 200,000 jobs last month, a rise from the 189,000 jobs added in March. (0815/1215) Separately, the U.S. Labor Department will release data on productivity at U.S. non-farm businesses in the first quarter of the year. Analysts polled by Reuters expect productivity costs to have fallen 1.8 percent in the quarter. (0830/1230)

Metlife Inc, the largest U.S. life insurer, is expected to report a first-quarter profit below analysts' expectations, hurt by losses from investments and derivatives. With investments mainly in bonds, Metlife's returns have been hurt by lower yields due to historically low interest rates. Metlife has been scaling back on capital-intensive businesses such as annuities to focus more on traditional life insurance and pension products. Separately, life insurer Prudential Financial Inc is expected to report a first-quarter profit below the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company, which gets more than half of its revenue from operations outside the United States, mainly Japan, is likely to be hurt by a strong dollar. Prudential remains one of the three insurers designated "systemically important" and the company will continue to be subjected to tougher oversight.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde participate in the "Finance and Society" conversation in the Institute for New Economic Thinking Conference on Finance and Society, hosted by the IMF in Washington. (0915/1315) Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George speaks at the same event later in the day. (1315/1715) Separately, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy before a luncheon hosted by the Baton Rouge Rotary in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (1330/1730)

The European Union will announce a wide-ranging probe into how big technology companies, such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, use their market power as it considers whether to regulate them more tightly. The inquiry, which by its nature will inevitably focus heavily on U.S. firms, follows calls from France and Germany for regulation of so-called "essential digital platforms". European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip will unveil his "Digital Single Market Strategy" at noon in Brussels. (0600 ET/1000 GMT) The inquiry differs from an antitrust investigation of the kind launched by the EU into Google five years ago, in that it is not aimed at enforcing existing law through penalties.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc will release its first-quarter results. Investors will want an update on whether the construction of the company's battery plant in Las Vegas remains on track. They will also seek details from CEO Elon Musk on demand for the Model S in the United States and other markets, especially China, where sales have been disappointing. Also awaited will be an update on the rollout of the Model X SUV and further plans for Tesla's home battery business.

Twenty-First Century Fox reports third-quarter results as TV viewership habits continue to shift. Analysts are expected to ask about the company's slimmed down cable offerings, including Verizon's new skinny package that Fox said violated its carriage contracts. They will also ask about any forthcoming video streaming products in the pipeline.

Hospitals operator Kindred Healthcare Inc is expected to report first-quarter earnings in line with analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as the company continues to maintain a healthy pace of hospital admissions growth. The integration of Kindred's recent acquisition, home health service provider Gentiva, remains on track and is expected to improve Kindred's cost structure.

Wellcare Health Plan Inc is slated to report its first-quarter results. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, the company's revenue and profit will be in line with average analyst estimates. Although there has been a rise in memberships for government plans, investors are keeping a close watch on insurers and hospitals for signs that medical use and costs are rising more rapidly than expected, which can hurt insurers' profits and help hospitals.   Continued...