December 16, 2014 / 7:58 PM / 4 years ago

What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Wednesday, Dec. 17

(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) U.S. Federal Reserve officials will decide this week whether to make a critical change to their policy statement that would widen the door for interest rate hikes next year and effectively bet the United States will continue to shine in a gloomy global economy. In one of the last major wild cards for financial markets in 2014, the U.S. central bank’s policy-setting committee is to issue the statement and fresh economic forecasts on 1400 ET (1900 GMT), following a two-day meeting. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will then hold a news conference at 1430 ET (1930 GMT). Plunging oil prices likely rendered consumer prices weaker in November, U.S. Labor Department data is expected to show. Declining energy and commodity prices have also helped keep inflation below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent. The monthly Consumer Price Index likely fell 0.1 percent in November compared with the prior month when it was flat. Package delivery company FedEx Corp is scheduled to report second-quarter results. The company reported a better-than-expected 24 percent jump in first-quarter profit in September. General Mills Inc is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings amid a tough retail environment for packaged food. As a result, the maker of Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt has tried to capitalize on consumer trends such as a growth in snacking and demand for organic and natural food. Mining equipment maker Joy Global Inc’s results have been hit in the past two years as a coal supply glut forced miners such as Peabody Energy and Alpha Natural Resources to close mines and cut spending on new equipment. Joy Global’s larger rival, Caterpillar Inc, has increased focus on its construction equipment business to offset lower sales to the mining industry, a market the company does not expect will pick up next year. Joy Global flagged a pick up in maintenance spending earlier this year, suggesting miners could no longer put off servicing older equipment. When the company reports fourth-quarter results, investors will be looking for an update on expectations for that business next year since it makes up more than two-thirds of the company’s revenue. World’s largest maker of home appliances Whirlpool is expected to provide updated sales and earnings forecasts at its annual investor day. BlackBerry is set to launch its long awaited Classic device in New York. The keyboard device will see the return of the popular command bar - a feature BlackBerry had dropped on its new line of devices, much to the disappointment of many long-time BlackBerry fans. BlackBerry hopes that the aggressively priced device will spur a new wave of user adoption and lure those still using its erstwhile Bold and Curve devices onto its new operating system. Contract electronics maker Jabil Circuit Inc is likely to post first-quarter profit and revenue above the analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company is expected to benefit from strong sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Loan platform operator On Deck Capital’s initial public offering is expected to raise about $180 million, valuing the company at up to $1.3 billion. The company makes loans of up to $250,000 and counts Google Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Tiger Global Private Investment Partner and SAP Ventures among its stockholders. Statistics Canada releases wholesale trade data for October. Analysts polled by Reuters expect a 0.1 month-on-month increase. Data last month indicated that wholesale trade rose by 1.8 percent in September from August to a record high C$54.03 billion. (Compiled by Ayesha Sruti Ahmed in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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