May 6, 2014 / 7:30 PM / 4 years ago

What to Watch in The Day Ahead; Wednesday, May 7

(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) Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen takes the microphone to testify before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. Financial markets will be keen to see whether there is any softening in her view that there is substantial slack in the labor market, given the drop in the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate last month. (1000/1400)

Hiring was fairly robust in the first quarter, given that the economy barely expanded. That means business productivity plummeted like a stone. Economists expect a report from the Labor Department to show that non-farm productivity slid at a 1 percent annual rate during the quarter. (0830/1230) Also expected in the day is consumer credit for March released by the Federal Reserve. (1500/1900)

Rupert Murdoch-owned television and film company Twenty-First Century Fox, which was spun off from News Corp last June, is expected to report slightly better-than-expected third-quarter results, according to StarMine data. In February, the company cut its fiscal-year outlook, blaming missed targets at its movie studio and weak broadcast network ratings. Investors will be looking for update on company’s outlook for the year.

Enbridge, Canada’s largest pipeline company, is expected to release first-quarter results. Enbridge lines transport the bulk of Canadian crude exports to the United States and the company has been expanding and modernizing the network in a bid to relieve congestion and prevent crude getting bottle-necked in Alberta. Its Northern Gateway project to Canada’s Pacific coast has run into fierce environmental and aboriginal opposition and recently Enbridge said there were delays in obtaining a U.S. presidential permit for the expansion of its Alberta Clipper line.

World’s largest beermaker Anheuser-Busch InBev is scheduled to report first-quarter results. The company had forecast a return to growth in major markets Brazil and Mexico due to the World Cup and stronger economies, although it faces higher input and marketing costs. Exceptional cold in North America likely hit sales as fewer drinkers would have gone out to bars.

Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC Holdings, releases its interim management statement for the first quarter. The bank’s investment banking income is likely to be down, but cost-cutting could help offset the decline.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser is due to announce his new strategy for the German engineering group and the company is scheduled to report financial results for the first half of the fiscal year. Investors have high hopes in his ability to regain ground lost to more profitable competitors such as Switzerland’s ABB and U.S.-based General Electric, but he has cautioned not to expect earth-shattering changes.

Duke Energy is expected to report strong first-quarter earnings, aided by higher power rates. Regulators in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida approved the company’s request to raise utility rates last year. The company is selling its Midwest commercial generation business, including stakes in 13 merchant power plants that sell electricity on the wholesale market. Investors will be looking for comments on the planned sale.

Chesapeake Energy, the second largest U.S. producer of natural gas, is expected to report first-quarter earnings before the bell. The company benefited from a weather-related spike in natural gas prices in the quarter.

Devon Energy, which recently formed a master limited partnership for its pipeline and processing assets, is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings before the markets open.

Humana rounds out health insurer first-quarter earnings with a report that is likely to focus on its Medicare Advantage business, which makes up about two-thirds of the company’s revenue. Profit is expected to fall in part due to lower government reimbursement for medical services. Humana is also expected to give some details about how its new Obamacare exchange plans are faring, after warning that it expects to use government risk adjustment payments to make up for losses there as enrollees have been generally older and sicker than were initially expected.

The second-largest U.S. life insurer, Prudential Financial is expected to report a first-quarter profit that will likely miss expectations, according to StarMine. The company’s profit is likely to be driven by higher premium income and strengthening of the Japanese yen against the dollar. The yen has gained 2 percent against the U.S. dollar during the Jan-March quarter. The company’s retirement services business, where it assumes pension obligations of large, old-line industrial companies, has witnessed stronger operating income over the past few quarters, helped by a rising stock market. Prudential had reported a loss in the year-earlier quarter. Larger rival MetLife’s first-quarter operating earnings fell short of market expectations as its paid out more claims.

Fertilizer maker CF Industries is scheduled to report first-quarter results after the bell. The company recently sold its phosphate operations to Mosaic to become a pure-play nitrogen producer. Investors will watch for an update on the company’s $3.8 billion expansion in Iowa and Louisiana, and an update on a shut down plant in Oklahoma. Also of interest will be its comments on how U.S. spring fertilizer applications are going, with planting delayed and railways congested.

Cadbury chocolate seller Mondelez International is scheduled to report first-quarter results before the bell. Investors will be looking for whether the company, which is grappling with weak global demand for packaged food, is living up to its vow to do better in 2014.

Allergan, which recently received an unsolicited takeover bid from Valeant, is expected to report first-quarter results before the markets open. Investors will watch for any reaction or new developments on the takeover offer and the company’s Botox sales trends.

Tesla Motor is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings, updating investors on deliveries of its Model S as well as providing an update on plans for the “gigafactory,” the large battery plant it plans to build.

Rare earths producer Molycorp is expected to post results for the first quarter. Investors will be looking for updates on the ramp-up at Molycorp’s Mountain Pass mine, which it recently overhauled. When Molycorp last reported results, it said it expected to reach full capacity in the second half of 2014.

IT services provider Cognizant is expected to post strong first-quarter results, like its India-based rivals Infosys and TCS. Analysts expect Cognizant’s 2014 revenue forecast, which came in below expectations, to remain unchanged due to soft spending on discretionary services such as consulting.

Transocean, the world’s largest drilling rig contractor, is due to report first-quarter earnings and perhaps provide additional details for the planned split off of some of its rigs into a separate entity.

Canadian independent oil and gas producer Talisman Energy is scheduled to announce first-quarter results. The company has been slimming operations and cutting debt in a bid to boost its share prices and appease shareholders and activist-investors, including billionaire Carl Icahn.

Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, is expected to report higher earnings per share and revenue, but results are expected to be hampered in part by intensifying competition from the likes of McDonald’s and a long, cold winter that may have kept some customers away. The company is looking for new growth avenues, particularly as it fends off competition in the quick-serve restaurant sector and reaches market maturity in Canada.

Real-estate website operator Zillow is likely to post results for the first quarter. The company had warned that near-term profit would be hit due to higher advertising costs. The company said it would increase spending on advertising to $65 million in 2014 from $40 million in 2013. Zillow gets most of its revenue from subscriptions to its website from real estate agents.

SolarCity is expected to report a wider first-quarter loss, as a harsh winter weighed on its solar panel installations. The largest residential solar installer in the United States is looking to ramp up its installations in the current quarter to make up for the shortfall and reach its full-year target. Investors will also look for details on its new financing schemes.

Car-rental company Avis Budget, which gets 46 percent of its revenue from airport car rentals, is expected to have benefited from a rise in air traffic when it reports first-quarter results.

Solar and LED equipment maker GT Advanced Technologies’ first-quarter results are likely to beat estimates, according to StarMine data. The company is expected to gain from improving polysilicon prices and its agreement to make sapphire materials for Apple’s electronics devices.

AOL is scheduled to report first-quarter results and the focus will be on whether the company can keep up its momentum growing ad revenue.

King Digital Entertainment, the maker of the “Candy Crush Saga” game, is expected to report first-quarter earnings following its March debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which depends on just a handful of games to generate almost all its revenue, will give a first taste of its plans to retain gamers engaged in their offerings. Investors are worried that the company’s reliance on “Candy Crush” could include it in the league of Rovi Corp and Zynga who are struggling to cope up with expectations after failing to bring new games to offset user decline in older blockbuster games.

Canadian miner Kinross Gold is expected to report lower first-quarter earnings on the back of weaker gold and silver prices, although production from its Russian mines could increase. Analysts will be looking for updates on Kinross’ cross-company cost-cutting program.

Data from Statistics Canada is likely to show an increase of 4.3 percent in building permits for March, after it tumbled by 11.6 percent in February from January.

Chile is set to release April’s trade balance figures. Investors will be looking for signs of a growing deficit and lower revenue from key export copper. Separately, Brazil’s government statistics agency IBGE is scheduled to release industrial output data for April. (Compiled By Shashwat Sharma)

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