April 24, 2014 / 7:09 PM / 4 years ago

What to Watch in The Day Ahead; Friday, April 25

(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) Thomson Reuters/ University of Michigan is scheduled to release final data for April consumer confidence. A preliminary reading of consumer confidence earlier in April showed the index inch up to 82.6, the most upbeat U.S. consumers had been in nine months. (1030/1430)

Ford is expected to post first-quarter earnings before the bell amid reports that its much-praised CEO, Alan Mulally, 68, is preparing to leave the company to be replaced by COO Mark Fields, 53. Investors will be looking for any update on the transition and also for a progress report on the launch of the new F-150 pickup truck, a key profit-maker for the company. Ford has been showing signs of recovery in Europe and market gains in China, but faces a deteriorating market in South America, particularly in Venezuela. (0700/1100)

Drugmaker AbbVie is expected to report relatively flat first-quarter earnings, excluding special items, as many of its top brands are hurt by competition from cheaper generics. The company and its array of patent-protected prescription drugs were spun off by Abbott Laboratories early last year. Investors will be on alert for more insights about five oral experimental treatments for hepatitis C that could be approved later this year and eventually lessen AbbVie’s dependence on arthritis treatment Humira, the world’s top-selling medicine.

Colgate-Palmolive is scheduled to report first-quarter results providing another data point by which to gauge consumer sentiment in various countries. It has said it expected a one-time loss of $180-$200 million in the current quarter after Venezuela devalued its currency.

Financial holding company State Street is expected to top analysts’ average estimate when it reports first-quarter results, according to StarMine data. Larger rival Bank of New York Mellon Corp earlier this week posted a first-quarter profit that beat estimates as rising markets drove up its assets under custody and administration. Analysts expect State Street to earn $1.00 per share.

Timber conglomerate Weyerhaeuser is expected to report a lower first-quarter profit before the markets open. In its fourth-quarter report in January the company said it expected earnings from cellulose fibers and single family home-building operations to take a hit.

Whirlpool, the world’s largest maker of home appliances, is expected to report first-quarter earnings. Demand in the United States is expected to continue to recover in 2014 after plunging 25 percent during the housing downturn and related recession. (0600/1000)

Autoliv, the world’s largest maker of auto-safety products, is expected to report first-quarter earnings. The main focus will be on its second-quarter and full-year guidance. An unexpectedly strong upturn in global car production helped the firm last year and investors will look for evidence this persisted into this year. Autoliv had earlier forecast more muted sales growth in 2014.

Auto-parts maker Lear Corp is likely to report first-quarter results before the bell. The company is expected to do well as an increase in U.S. vehicle sales boosted demand for its car seats and electrical power systems, despite slowing demand in South America. In March, U.S. auto sales rose a better-than-expected 5.7 percent, raising expectations that April could be even stronger, which should translate into a strong 2014 outlook for the company. Lear Corp should also benefit from a stabilizing European economy.

Alaska Air Group is expected to report a higher first-quarter profit as it kept costs down and grew passenger revenue. Alaska is one of the few carriers that pays a dividend and buys back shares, but it faces competitive pressure in Seattle, one of its hub markets, as Delta Air Lines bulks up there.

Auto-parts supplier Dana Holding is likely to benefit from higher U.S. truck sales when it posts first-quarter results. The company has said it expects North American markets to be stable in 2014. Investors will look out for comments on the company’s South American operations as competitors have warned of a slowdown in that region.

Hospital operator Lifepoint Hospitals is expected to report first-quarter results before the bell.

Mexico’s central bank is expected to hold its main interest rate steady as easing inflation pressures give policymakers room to leave borrowing costs low to support an economic recovery. All 25 analysts surveyed expect the central bank to hold its main interest rate at a record low of 3.50 percent on April 25. (Compiled By Shashwat Sharma)

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