What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Wednesday, Aug. 19

Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:26pm 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) The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its July policy-setting session, which will be parsed for clues on the interest rate debate. The Fed may well hike rates in September, and changes in the July statement pointed to an improving economy and labor markets. Characterization of the debate in the minutes could indicate how firm opinions are about the state of the U.S. economy, and how confident members are that inflation and employment will move towards the Fed's target levels. (1800/2200) Investors will also look for the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index, which is expected to have increased 0.2 percent in July, a bit down from a rise of 0.3 percent in June. (0830/1230)

Target Corp releases its second-quarter results. The company has been restructuring operations as it focuses on fewer products. Brain Cornell, who took over as CEO in August last year, has focused on core categories such as baby, kids and wellness products and exited the money-losing Canada business. He is also laying off thousands of employees. Investors will watch for Cornell's comments on the back-to-school season, his attempts to revive grocery sales, management reshuffles, smaller store rollouts and supply chain investments.

Lowe's Companies, the second-largest U.S. home improvement chain, is likely to report second-quarter sales below analysts' average estimate. While strong housing market data over the last few months is expected to have kept overall demand for home improvement goods steady, record rainfall in May and June in large parts of the United States are likely to have kept a lid on sales of products in the home exterior improvement categories, such as paint and gardening supplies. Analysts are looking out for any cut in the company's full-year sales forecast especially since it reported weaker-than-expected sales for the first quarter. Data storage equipment maker NetApp Inc is expected to report first-quarter revenue slightly above analysts' average estimate. NetApp, which cut about 500 jobs in May, has been trying to boost growth by focusing on cloud-based products as businesses cut spending on high-end storage systems. The company appointed George Kurian as its new CEO in June to replace Tom Georgens. Investors would be looking for second-quarter forecast. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks before the "Macroeconomic Policy and Price Measurement Issues in a Low Inflation Environment" conference, in Seoul, South Korea. (2020/0020) Teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc is expected to report second-quarter profit and sales above analysts' average estimates. The earnings beat is expected to be driven by trendy, fashionable merchandise, lower discounts, benefits from lower cotton prices and tight inventory controls. American Eagle is also benefiting from a new multi-channel distribution center that allows it to control inventories more efficiently by enabling it to supply to its brick-and-mortar and online stores. Investors will look for third-quarter forecast, commentary on promotions and trends, and expectations for the back-to-school shopping season. LIVECHAT: Retail Earnings with Alpha Now's Jharonne Martis Its retail earnings season in the U.S. and though government data showed sales rebounding in July, suggesting the economy was growing solidly early in the third quarter and bolstering the case for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike, retailers' outlooks for the rest of the year could show a coming chill. Inventories are rising and a rate hike may well squelch budding consumer demand. Join Jharonne Martis, retail analyst at Alpha Now at (1000/1400) to discuss how retailers are positioned heading into the all-important holiday season. To join the Global Markets Forum, click here: bit.ly/1kTxdKD (All analysts' estimates are according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, unless mentioned otherwise) (Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian)