(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) Online retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd releases its first full-length set of quarterly numbers since going public in what became the world’s largest initial public offering. Investors have so far overlooked its poor track record on corporate governance, but it remains to be seen if Alibaba lives up to its promise of hyper-growth, and if its expansion into all things mobile has begun to yield fruit. The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to report that the trade gap narrowed slightly in September. Depending on the actual figures, economists could adjust their expectations for the next revision on third-quarter gross domestic product growth due near the end of the month (0830/1330). Also scheduled for release is the Institute of Supply Management-New York’s index on factory activity for October (0945/1445) and the government’s report on factory orders for September, which are seen picking up slightly after a big aircraft-related drop (1000/1500).
The United States holds midterm elections, with 36 U.S. Senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 36 state governors’ races at stake, as well as votes on a string of state ballot measures such as legal marijuana, and on state and local governments. Dish Network Corp, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company, is expected to report a slight fall in its third-quarter revenue, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The company has been playing hard ball with television networks such as CBS and Turner Broadcasting to renew distribution deals. The standoff comes as cable, satellite and telecom video distributors are increasingly resisting demands for steep price increases as viewers are being drawn to Netflix and other forms of entertainment. Media company Discovery Communications Inc is expected to report third-quarter earnings below the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Growth of international television ad sales, which Discovery has been benefiting from in the past few quarters, has taken a hit, according to analysts, from tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and a stronger dollar.
After walking away from a potential tie-up with Time Warner Inc, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc is expected to outline its future plans. The company is likely to miss the analysts’ estimate for its first-quarter results, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Time Warner’s plan to launch a standalone online streaming service for HBO next year may also have repercussions for Fox. Time Inc, the largest magazine publisher in the United States, is expected to report a third-quarter profit below the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The publisher of Sports Illustrated, and Time and People magazines is facing declining circulation and advertising revenue as consumers shift to reading on smartphones and tablets. The company, which gets half of its revenue from advertising, had cut its full-year forecast last quarter, citing payment defaults and the relocation of its headquarters. Oil and gas company Devon Energy, which has oil sands operations in Canada and shale wells in North America, is scheduled to report third-quarter results. The company’s profit and revenue are expected to be hit by a steep slide in crude oil prices. Separately, Oasis Petroleum, which produces oil and natural gas in North Dakota’s Bakken formation, is expected to report after the market closes a jump in third-quarter profit. Emerson Electric Co, which manufactures automation and power supply systems, reports fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts will be looking for more information about Emerson’s growth next year after the company said in October that its underlying sales growth would “slightly exceed” the rate in 2014. Intercontinental Exchange Inc is expected to report slightly higher third-quarter earnings, compared with a year earlier, as the exchange and clearing house operator’s revenue climbs on the back of last year’s $11 billion purchase of the owner of the New York Stock Exchange. Activision Blizzard Inc reports third-quarter results. Rival Electronic Arts’ quarterly results have already revived some optimism that the long-faltering videogame sector is finally enjoying relatively steady growth thanks to the advent of the Xbox One and PS4. Activision’s offerings for the holiday quarter, however, are mainly add-ons to existing franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, so all eyes are on the outlook. Motorola Solutions Inc is likely to report third-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The company had forecast a drop in sales due to lower demand in North America, citing budget cuts and lowered government spending in the United States. Motorola is also in the process of selling its enterprise business, which makes rugged mobile computers, tablets and barcode scanners, to Zebra Technologies Corp for $3.45 billion. After the conclusion of that deal, Motorola will become further dependent on government contracts. CVS Health, which operates the No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain, is expected to report a stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit driven by growth in its pharmacy benefit management business. The loss from the company’s decision to stop selling cigarettes is expected to be offset by continued strength in its specialty pharma business. Investors will watch for comments on whether the company has had any success in renegotiating contracts to mitigate the pressure from generic inflation along with any comments on margin pressures due to a decline in reimbursement rates which has hurt rivals like Walgreens. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc is scheduled to report third-quarter results before the bell. Sales of the drugmaker’s key drug, Eylea, are expected to drive growth in the quarter, after it was approved for an additional indication. Investors will be looking for updates on the company’s U.S. annual sales forecast for Eylea. Regeneron had boosted this forecast in the past several quarters but kept it unchanged in the second quarter. Medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Co also reports third-quarter results before the market opens. Fast food chain Burger King Worldwide Inc is expected to report third-quarter profit and sales above analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The company is expected to benefit from higher traffic in its restaurants in the United States, its largest market. Investors will be looking for more details on its deal to acquire Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc as well as comments on outlook for the rest of 2014, given higher food costs, particularly for beef. Premium beauty products maker Estee Lauder Cos Inc will report first-quarter results before the bell. The company has been growing sales faster than those of rivals such as L‘Oreal SA, Coty Inc and Elizabeth Arden in key U.S. and European markets, where demand for its Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick are driving sales. Office supplies retailer Office Depot Inc has warned that sales would be weak this year as stiff competition from online and mass retailers erodes sales in its North American retail division. To improve its business, the company is implementing a program to refine its unique selling proposition and is concentrating on two segments where it is significantly underpenetrated. Investors will be interested in details on these two segments as well as steps the company is taking to arrest the decline in sales in North America. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, third-quarter sales are expected to come below the average analyst estimate. Cyber-security vendor FireEye Inc forecast third-quarter revenue above analysts’ estimates in August, citing strong demand for its software and services. The company reports third-quarter results and investors will look out for management commentary on demand for its security products and for its forecast. Statistics Canada releases trade balance data for September. Analysts expect the data to show that the deficit narrowed to C$100 million from the C$610 million reported in August (0830/1330). Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins will testify before the House of Commons finance committee in light of the Oct. 22 release of the quarterly Monetary Policy Report. They were scheduled to testify on Oct. 22, but it was postponed because of the shooting at the National War Memorial and inside the main Parliament building that morning. Poloz’s opening statement will be published on the bank’s website at 1030 ET (1530 GMT). (Compiled by Ayesha Sruti Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)