(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) Facebook’s stock soared in 2014 as the company’s mobile ad revenue exploded. There are signs that revenue growth may slow in the coming quarters and Facebook has warned that spending will rise in 2015 as it embarks on a hiring spree and invests in other businesses, including Instagram and WhatsApp; all that and more will be in the spotlight when the world’s largest online social networking company reports its fourth-quarter results.
Qualcomm Inc posts fiscal first-quarter results as Wall Street waits for the leading mobile chipmaker to resolve its anti-trust investigation with regulators in China, its top growth market. For years, Qualcomm executives touted the rollout of LTE cellphone technology in China as a major growth opportunity, but the company’s outlook there has been clouded as investors worry it will be forced to make major concessions on its cash-producing royalty business. The U.S. Federal Reserve, after a two-day meeting, is expected to repeat its vow to be “patient” as it approaches its first interest rate increase since 2006. (1400/1900) Financial markets will parse the central bank’s policy statement for any signs its officials are growing nervous that global weakness will materially impede the U.S. economy and delay their rate hike plans. Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America releases its weekly index of mortgage applications activity. (0700/1200) Revised building permits data for December will be released by the commerce department. (0000/0500)
Boeing Co reports fourth-quarter results after its recent disclosure that it delivered a record 723 jetliners in 2014, comfortably hitting its target of 715-725. The focus will be on how much cash the company generated, along with its 2015 outlook and whether the cost of producing the 787 has stabilized. Boeing’s defense business, meanwhile, is trying to trim $2 billion in costs. Textron Inc, which has benefited from strong demand for its Cessna and Beechcraft jets as businesses increase spending in a recovering U.S. economy, will also report fourth-quarter results. The Rhode Island-based company raised its full-year earnings forecast in October, citing strong demand. The company, which also makes Bell helicopters and EZ-Go golf carts, has said it expects most of the demand to be for its new models, scheduled to be launched in 2015 and 2016. Investors will be looking for its initial forecast for this year. General Dynamics Corp will have counted on its aerospace business to boost fourth-quarter profit as defense spending remains tight. The defense supplier, which makes Gulfstream business jets along with ships and tanks, said in October that it expected “very strong” orders in the fourth quarter after the introduction of two new aircraft. Investors will look for an update on sales expectations to the U.S. military this year, as well as demand from international markets, which make up nearly a fifth of total revenue.
Anthem Inc reports fourth-quarter results with operating profit expected to have nearly doubled, according to analysts. As one of the biggest players on the Obamacare exchanges in 2014, the Blue Cross Blue Shield company will offer insight into whether 2015 is shaping up to be stronger than U.S. government targets, and if they are seeing an increase in medical services use. Shareholders of cigarette makers Reynolds American and Lorillard will vote on the $27.4 billion merger. Reynolds’ offer to buy its rival will ensure that 90 percent of U.S. cigarettes are made by just two companies. Reynolds received a second request from the Federal Trade Commission in November for more information on the deal. International Paper Co is expected to post a fall in profit when it releases fourth-quarter earnings, according to analysts. The paper and packaging company had registered a tax benefit of $651 million related to the closing of a U.S. federal income tax audit in the year-earlier quarter. Rockwell Automation, a maker of automation systems for factories, is likely to report a higher first-quarter profit according to analysts. Consumer products and transportation industries contributing about 30 and 15 percent respectively to company’s annual revenue are expected to do well in 2015 owing to a brightening job situation and accelerating consumer spending. Investors will also look for an update on the 2015 outlook for Rockwell’s oil and gas segment, which contributes about 12 percent of annual revenue, and comments on how a strong dollar will impact international operations, which contribute about 49 percent of sales. IT services firm CGI Group Inc is expected to eke out profit growth on flat revenue in its first-quarter earnings as it further improves margins at its Logica business. Bookings in the United States are still expected to lag, several quarters after the company lost the contract to manage the U.S. healthcare plan, Obamacare. Investors will be eager to know whether CGI has found any acquisition targets, which the company said was one of its paths for further growth. Statistics Canada will release revisions to its Labour Force Survey going all the way back to 2001 to reflect updated population estimates from the 2011 census. (Compiled By Astha Rawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)