July 27, 2015 / 6:55 PM / in 2 years

What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Tuesday, July 28

(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 Open Market Committee begins a two-day meeting on interest rate policy. Separately, the Conference Board releases its index of U.S. consumer attitudes. The index is expected to have fallen to 100.0 in July from 101.4 in June. (1000/1400) In another report, the S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas is expected to have risen at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in May. (0900/1300) Also, financial firm Markit releases its preliminary reading of its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for July. PMI for the services sector is expected to have increased to 55.0 from 54.8 in June. (0900/1300) The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond will issue Manufacturing and Services indices for July. (1000/1400) Drugmaker Pfizer Inc, which gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from markets outside the United States, is expected to report lower earnings for the second quarter, hurt by a stronger dollar. However, expected higher sales of its new breast cancer drug, Ibrance, and growing use of its Prevnar pneumococcal vaccine in adults will help prop up results.

Merck & Co, the No. 2 U.S. drugmaker, is expected to report lower sales for the second quarter, mainly due to a stronger dollar and divestiture of its consumer care business. However, sales of the company’s new Keytruda immuno-oncology drug are expected to help boost its results and will be a main focus of investors.

Gilead Sciences Inc, the maker of expensive hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, will report second-quarter results. Investors are keen to see the number of patients taking its hepatitis C drugs, after rival AbbVie said earlier this month than its U.S. sales were declining. Gilead has said it is open to considering merger and acquisition prospects. Investors will look for any comments regarding acquisitions.

United Parcel Service Inc, the world’s largest package delivery company, will report second-quarter results. Analysts will be watching for the company’s plans to introduce surcharges for residential packages in the upcoming holiday season, plus for insights into how its higher-margin international business has been affected by slowing growth in China and a moribund global economy.

Dow component DuPont Co is expected to report a lower second-quarter profit, hurt by a fall in agriculture earnings and a stronger dollar. The company defeated in May a campaign by Trian to land seats on DuPont’s board, delivering a landmark setback to one of the most influential activist investor firms. The company has moved its focus to its agri business, but seed sales have been weighed down by a switch to soybean from corn in North America. Corn seed sales account for about half of the sales from DuPont’s agricultural products unit, its largest.

Ford Motor Co releases second-quarter results before the market opens. Recently, Ford had said that it was looking to a raft of new sedan and SUV launches in China later this year to regain momentum in the world’s largest auto market, after its sales barely grew in the first half of 2015. Investors are keen to know how Ford has weathered the downturn of retail vehicle demand in China.

Oil and gas company BP Plc announces second-quarter results. Investors will focus on the company’s plans to grow its portfolio after the $18.7 billion settlement for its deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Twitter Inc, which has been struggling with slowing user growth, is expected to report second-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Twitter had warned that user growth was off to a slow start in April and that its new direct response ads, intended to encourage actions such as clicking on a link to an advertiser’s website, did not generate the revenue expected. Investors will look for commentary on the progress in direct response ads. They will also await updates on the company’s ongoing search for a new chief executive and the impact of a strong dollar. Last month, CEO Dick Costolo abruptly announced that he was stepping down and that co-founder Jack Dorsey would take over as interim-CEO.

The United States will host a meeting of trade ministers from a proposed Asia-Pacific trade bloc. Ministers from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, will meet in Maui, United States from July 28 to 31.

D.R. Horton Inc, the largest U.S. homebuilder, is expected to report a higher revenue and profit for the third quarter as it sold more homes at higher prices. Investors will be looking for an update on the company’s full-year forecast.

Specialty glass maker Corning Inc is expected to report second-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Analysts expect display glass demand to be hurt by weak sales of personal computers and lower TV sales due to instability in China, which accounts for a quarter of global TV demand. Investors will want to know if adoption of 4K TV and continued demand for Gorilla glass can make up for the weakness.

Akamai Technologies Inc, whose service helps speed up delivery of online content, is expected to report second-quarter revenue and profit slightly above analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Akamai delivers 15-30 percent of all Web traffic and has customers ranging from Yahoo Inc to online home rental marketplace Airbnb. However, the company’s revenue is expected to take a hit from a stronger dollar as it gets about a quarter of its revenue from outside the United States.

Textron Inc, the maker of Beechcraft and Cessna aircraft, announces second-quarter results. The company is expected to benefit from burgeoning international demand, especially in its commercial market. Textron is also likely to see continued benefits from its acquisition of Beechcraft last year. Investors will be watching for comments on Bell-Boeing, Textron’s alliance with Boeing, which received an order from Japan for its V-22 planes.

Sirius XM Holdings Inc is scheduled to report second-quarter results. The company is expected to report robust customer wins for its satellite radio service through the year, helped by strong U.S. auto sales. Auto sales in the United States have been healthy in the first six months of the year, with consumer demand for new vehicles strengthening. People who buy new cars fitted with Sirius receivers usually get free access for a few months, but must pay a fee to continue the service. In April, the company raised its revenue and subscriber addition forecast for 2015.

Ally Financial Inc, the largest U.S. auto lender, is expected to report a second-quarter profit, helped by higher U.S. auto loans originations. General Motors replaced Ally with its current in-house financing arm, General Motors Financial, for subsidized leases on Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, beginning February. Ally, which also lost exclusive agreements with Chrysler over the past two years, has been trying to increase its market share among other brands such as Ford Motor and Nissan Motor. Ally also became the preferred financing source for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States, replacing the Japanese carmaker’s captive finance company in April.

Willis Group Holdings Plc, the world’s oldest insurance broker, is expected to report a rise in second-quarter earnings, but some analysts are wary of the impact of the significant offshoring the company has quietly begun. Willis, like some of its rivals, has been trying to grow its share of the lucrative benefits insurance market and agreed last month to an $18 billion merger with human resources consultancy Towers Watson. Analysts say this could mean the company is trying to combine its health insurance products with its property and casualty deals at a time the latter is struggling with a global slump in catastrophe insurance.

Health insurer Centene Corp is expected to report second-quarter profit above analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company’s earnings will be helped by higher enrollments. Centene said this month that it would buy smaller rival Health Net for $6.3 billion as insurers rush to bulk up to negotiate better prices with suppliers and hospitals and attract new customers.

National-Oilwell Varco Inc, the largest U.S. oilfield equipment maker, is expected to report a lower second-quarter profit as a steep decline in commodity prices weighs on demand. National Oilwell, which has slowed a $3 billion share buyback program to shore up its cash balance, said that it was in talks over several potential deals, which would add to two acquisitions already completed this year. Halliburton may put up other assets on the block to gain regulatory compliance of its deal with Baker Hughes. Investors will want to know if National Oilwell can snap up any of these assets.

Coal and gas producer Consol Energy Inc has said it will likely post a loss for the second quarter due to weak commodity prices. Analysts are expecting a profit. Earlier this year, Consol shifted its focus to natural gas production from coal to shield itself from dismally low coal prices. Investors will look for details on cost-cutting measures and potential asset sales.

GrubHub Inc, online food delivery service company, is expected to report second-quarter profit and revenue above average analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company, which delivers everything from expensive steaks to bento boxes, has been investing heavily to build its food-delivery network. The company has also aggressively bought smaller rivals over the past few years. Investors will be looking for updates on expansion of operations in tier 1 and tier 2 cities as its two largest markets, New York and Chicago, mature.

Ingersoll-Rand Plc, the maker of heating and air conditioning systems, is expected to report second-quarter revenues above analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company’s industrial business, which gets most of its revenue from outside the United States, has been hurt by a strong dollar. Investors will be interested in knowing if the growth construction and industrial markets will boost profits.

Yelp Inc, the operator of consumer review website yelp.com, is expected to report second-quarter profit below the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company, which gets a majority of its revenue from local advertising, has been stepping up efforts to expand in markets outside the United States. Yelp was also reportedly working with investment bankers to explore a sale that could fetch more than $3.5 billion. Investors will be looking for an update on whether changes to Google’s search algorithm have hurt Yelp’s traffic.

IAC/InterActive Corp, the owner of matchmaking services Tinder and Match.com, is set to report a second-quarter profit above analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. IAC, which announced plans to list part of its profitable Match Group dating business, is expected to benefit from the growth in dating subscribers and revenue from its Vimeo video service. Investors will be looking for the company’s plans for the remainder of 2015 and any updates on Match Group’s proposed listing.

Solar panel maker SunPower Corp is expected to report a much higher second-quarter profit, helped by stronger demand from utilities and lower costs. The focus this quarter will be the company’s forecast. SunPower suspended its 2015 forecast in April due to a planned spinoff of some of its power plants into a joint venture with bigger rival First Solar.

Coal miner Peabody Energy Corp is expected to report a bigger second-quarter loss, hurt by weak demand for both steel-making coal and power-producing coal. The company has also been hurt by heavy rain and flash floods in the Southern Powder river basin in Wyoming, where it has three mines. Investors will look for details on Peabody’s cost-cutting measures.

LIVE CHAT - Previewing the U.S. Federal Reserve's next move with Axel Merk, President & CIO, Merk Investments Ahead of the Fed meeting, Axel Merk returns to the forum for a look at how to position for higher rates and whether two moves are still in store for 2015. (1000/1400)To join the Global Markets Forum, click here bit.ly/1kTxdKD

U.S. House panel holds Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversight hearing. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and senior Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai testify at a hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s communications panel. They are expected to face questions about Net neutrality, the ongoing review of $3 billion in auction discounts sought by Dish Network affiliates and the recent approval of the AT&T-DirecTV merger.

Canadian producer prices are expected to have risen 0.4 percent in June, slower than the gain of 0.5 percent in the prior month. Economists expect prices of raw materials to also have risen in June, but at a pace slower than in the prior month. (0830/1230) (Compiled by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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