February 25, 2015 / 8:04 PM / in 3 years

What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, Feb. 26

(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 Labor Department issues Consumer Price Index and weekly jobless claims data. The index is expected to have decreased 0.6 percent in January (0830/1330), while initial jobless claims are expected to have increased to 290,000 from 283,000 the previous week (0830/1330). The Commerce Department releases durable goods data for January, which is expected to show a rise of 1.7 percent after falling 3.3 percent in December (0830/1330).

Department store operator Kohl’s Corp is expected to report fourth-quarter sales and profit above analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company said in February same-store sales rose in the fourth quarter, the first quarterly growth after five quarters of decline. Investors will be watching out for commentary on full-year forecast and updates on sales trends during the first two months of the year.

Apparel retailer Gap Inc is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit above the analysts’ average estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company reported a rise in fourth-quarter sales and raised its full-year profit estimate, helped by strong demand for its Old Navy clothing during the holiday Season. Investors will look for comments from new CEO Art Peck about his plans to revive the Gap brand.

Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canada’s No. 2 and 5 lenders, will report first-quarter results. Both banks are expected to post profits, but investors will be watching closely for indications of how sluggish economic growth and a sharp fall in oil prices are affecting their loan books.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart speaks on monetary policy and the economic outlook before the 2015 Banking Outlook Conference (1300/1800). Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher gives a lecture on “Reflections on 10 Years at the Fed: Through the Financial Crisis” at an event hosted by the Imperial College of London Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis & the Centre for Economic Policy Research (1315/1815).

J.C. Penney is expected to post a net profit of $33 million for the fourth quarter, boosted by a solid holiday season. The department store operator said last month same-store sales rose 3.7 percent during November and December. It said it expected same-store sales for the fourth quarter through end-January to come in at the upper end of its forecast of 2-4 percent.

Brazilian miner Vale SA reports fourth-quarter and full-year results amid a slump in iron-ore prices, its main profit driver. Investors will be keeping a close eye on just how far the company’s profit falls and how it responds to lower prices. Any news on asset sales that might come out of the conference call will also be of interest.

World’s largest beermaker Anheuser Busch Inbev SA reports full-year results.

Sears Holdings Inc is expected to post its 11th straight quarterly loss due to sluggish holiday sales at Sears and Kmart stores. When the company reports fourth-quarter results, focus will be on whether it announces fresh asset sales to generate cash.

Brazil’s BRF SA, the world’s largest chicken exporter, reports fourth-quarter earnings. The company is reinventing itself as a global player with processed food distribution points around the world.

British American Tobacco Plc, the No. 2 international tobacco company, reports preliminary earnings. Investors will look for signs of further weakening markets in the face of delicate economies and e-cigarette competition.

Software maker Autodesk Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter revenue slightly below analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Autodesk, whose AutoCAD software is used by construction and manufacturing companies to design and simulate real-world performance of their products, has been moving from a license-based business to a cloud-based subscription model. The company’s decision to stop selling perpetual licenses in favor of subscriptions will hurt near-term licensing revenue, according to analysts.

Western Refining Inc is expected to post a higher fourth-quarter profit as lower crude oil costs boost refining margin. Investors will be looking for any commentary on the widening differentials for crude oil prices. Throughput at Western Refining’s refining facilities in Texas and New Mexico for the first quarter, which is expected to increase over last year, will also be of interest. Investors will also watch out for an update regarding Western’s Tex NewMex pipeline that is expected to be operational by the end of the first quarter. Oil and gas producer SandRidge Energy Inc is expected to break even on a per-share basis, compared with a year-earlier profit, while North Dakota oil producer WPX Energy Inc is expected to report a drop in fourth-quarter profit due to a slump in crude oil prices. SandRidge is expected to slash its rig count in Oklahoma and Kansas by nearly 75 percent and could announce further cuts to its 2015 capex plans. Investors will look for comments on plans to put its $1 billion drilling water business into a tax-advantaged master limited partnership.

Argentina’s state-run energy firm YPF SA is expected to almost double its fourth-quarter profit in 2014 to 10.35 billion pesos, a Reuters poll of analysts showed. YPF’s numbers are expected to have been shielded from the global slump in oil prices by a government-set price for locally produced oil which, although cut by $7 to $77/barrel in December, sits comfortably above the international market price.

Seadrill Ltd, once the world’s biggest offshore driller by market cap, reports preliminary fourth-quarter results. The company’s orderbook is shrinking; Petrobras, one of its top customers, recently canceled a big order and it has a number of uncommitted new vessels coming out of the yards. Any indication about dayrates and timing of the market’s bottom may be market-moving.

Television network AMC Networks Inc, home to ‘Mad Men’ and ‘The Walking Dead’, is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit above the average analysts’ estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. AMC has been benefiting from growth in its international business, helped by its purchase of Chellomedia last year. Strong domestic viewership of its channels from key demographics is also expected to boost revenue.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to set net neutrality rules, which would regulate Internet service providers more like traditional telephone companies. The vote begins a countdown to court appeals from the companies and Republican push for legislation. Chairman Tom Wheeler will hold a press conference.

Data analytics software maker Splunk Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter results above analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Splunk is benefiting from a growing customer base and higher demand in the IoT and IT security markets.

3D Systems Corp is expected to report fourth-quarter revenue marginally below estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Rival Stratasys Ltd cut its 2014 adjusted profit estimates for the second time and said it would increase spending in 2015 to expand its product offerings. Investors see 3D Systems following a similar trend, especially considering its current growth initiatives. Investors remain cautious on the stock.

Herbalife Ltd, a maker of weight-loss and nutritional products, will report fourth-quarter results after the market closes. Herbalife, which is being investigated by U.S. regulators and the FBI over its business model, had slashed its full-year revenue and adjusted profit forecast in November as it wrote down the value of its Venezuelan assets, and missed analysts’ estimates on quarterly profit for the first time since 2008. Billionaire investor William Ackman, who has a $1 billion short position against the company, last month reiterated that he expected the company’s stock price to collapse to zero within a year.

In-flight internet services provider Gogo Inc is expected to report a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, as it invests more on international expansion, connectivity fees and regulatory approvals. Gogo, which holds more than an 80 percent share of the U.S. market for inflight wi-fi in commercial and business aircraft, has said it expected accelerated revenue growth as its aggressive global expansion starts to pay off.

Compiled by Ayesha Sruti Ahmed in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian

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