December 18, 2015 / 7:39 PM / in 3 years

What to Watch in the Week Ahead and on Monday, Dec 21

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Markets will begin to wind down the year with the Federal Reserve rate hike out of the way and
the year's last expiration of options having taken place on Friday. The areas to watch will be
the ongoing daily reverse repo operations from the Fed to make sure that its endeavors to raise
rates continue to go smoothly - the U.S. fed funds rate rose to 37 basis points on Friday,
highest in seven years, as expected. Without a modest rally, stocks are in danger of their first
down year since 2011's fractional decline (and 2008's horrific one). But the activity is likely
to grow more volatile and spottier, making rallies and selloffs harder to trust.

Sportswear maker Nike Inc is likely, on Tuesday, to report second-quarter profit and sales above
the analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company expects its revenue
to grow faster over the next five years than it had in the previous five.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday releases the final figures for gross domestic product
for the third-quarter. The economy is expected to have grown at a 1.9 percent annual pace,
instead of 2.1 percent reported last month. Also on the same day, data is likely to show
existing home sales for November increased 0.5 percent, after a 3.4 percent decline in October.
On Wednesday, the final December reading of University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index is
expected to rise to 92 from a preliminary reading of 91.8, reported earlier this month. On the
same day, data is expected to show non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a
closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 0.1 percent in November.
ConAgra Foods Inc, maker of Slim Jim beef jerky, is likely to report second-quarter sales below
analysts estimate on Tuesday, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company said in October
it would cut about 1,500 jobs and move its headquarters to Chicago from Omaha as part of a plan
to save at least $300 million in three years. Last month, the maker of Chef Boyardee pasta said
it would sell its struggling private label foods business to TreeHouse Foods for $2.7 billion.
Investors will be looking out for further cost-saving measures, as well as the health of the
company's consumer foods business, where sales have been recovering for the past two quarters.
Canadian gross domestic product for October, due for a release on Wednesday, is forecast to have
grown 0.3 percent, after a 0.5 percent decline in September. On the same day, data is expected
to show retail sales in October increased by 0.5 percent.


Brazil's central bank releases results of a focus market survey of more than 100 financial
institution that will include forecasts for GDP, interest rates and inflation rates. Separately,
the Argentine government is due to release November industrial production data.
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 (Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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