April 29, 2015 / 7:44 PM / 3 years ago

What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, April 30

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Dow component Visa Inc’s second-quarter profit may be weighed down by lower gas prices as customers get more gas for the buck. Gas bills account for about 7-8 percent of the world’s largest credit card company’s U.S. transaction volume. However, the company will benefit from an increase in cross-border transaction fees. Investors will be looking out for the first commentary from Visa’s new Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu. Visa’s plans to operate in China, which said foreign firms would be able to set up their own clearing networks in the country, will also be in focus.

Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips, two of the largest U.S. oil companies, are expected to report lower first-quarter earnings that reflect the collapse in crude oil prices. The companies are expected to detail ongoing plans to improve efficiencies and cut operating costs or spending to preserve cash.

U.S. consumer incomes are expected to have risen in March as consumers welcome the warmer weather and as lower gasoline prices afford them more money to spend. The Commerce Department is expected to report a 0.2 percent rise in personal income and a 0.5 percent rise in consumption. (0830/1230) Also releasing in the day is the Labor Department’s weekly data on unemployment insurance claims (0830/1230) and first-quarter Employment Cost Index. (0830/1230) Claims for jobless benefits are seen hovering around 290,000, a level that would suggest the labor market is still on firm ground.

Cable provider Time Warner Cable Inc is expected to report first-quarter revenue slightly below analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as the company continues to lose residential video customers. The company and Comcast terminated their pending deal on April 24.

Viacom Inc, the owner of cable networks MTV and Comedy Central and movie studio Paramount Pictures Corp, is expected to report second-quarter revenue and profit broadly in line with analysts’ estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Viacom is struggling to adjust to the shift in viewing habits as people ditch pricey cable subscriptions for video streaming products offered by companies such as Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Hulu.

LinkedIn Corp, which operates a social network for professionals, is expected to report first-quarter revenue and profit above analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Analysts expect LinkedIn’s hiring business, which has been growing by nearly 50 percent in the past three quarters, to remain the primary engine of growth as it acquires new customers. Investors will be looking for second-quarter profit and revenue forecasts.

Things are looking rosy for Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk as the company launched a new ‘blockbuster’ drug to treat obesity and its shares jumped to record highs after it resubmitted data for U.S. approval for another treatment. The world’s largest insulin maker reports first-quarter results. The company has been insisting that, unlike its global competitors, it is handling U.S. price pressures well. In its results, investors will try to gauge how true that is.

French pharmaceuticals group Sanofi SA reports first-quarter results, its first set under new Chief Executive Olivier Brandicourt. The company seems to be at crossroads, with a patent cliff in the background. But it is too early to say how well new drugs are doing and how steep the fall in revenue will be from its main drug Lantus, which goes off patent soon. The negative effect of Lantus price cuts and higher operating costs due to new product launches is expected to be partly offset by a weak euro.

Drugmaker Celgene Corp is expected to report first-quarter revenue and profit above Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as the company continues to benefit from rising sales of its flagship myeloma drug, Revlimid. On the development front, Celgene has a much-anticipated Crohn’s disease drug in the pipeline, and it is collaborating with AstraZeneca on cancer drugs. Also, Gilead Sciences Inc reports first-quarter results after the markets close.

Cigna Corp is due to report first-quarter earnings that are about the same as a year earlier, reflecting concerns that the company’s profits on its Medicare Advantage plans might have suffered from mispricing. Profitability from its new Obamacare exchange customers, which was an issue last year, is expected to improve.

Brazilian miner Vale reports first-quarter results. Investors will want to know how much a slump in iron ore prices is hurting the company.

Rebounding sales of smaller cabin regional jets are expected to boost first-quarter revenue for Brazilian planemaker Embraer. Investors will be looking for order forecast for the year, given tight defense spending by the Brazilian government.

Goldcorp Inc, the world’s biggest gold producer by market value, is expected to report lower irst-quarter earnings as bullion prices tumbled and the company encountered start-up issues at its new Eleonore mine in Canada. Production is expected to rise, particularly in the second half of the year, and costs are seen declining from 2014, the company has said. Analysts will be watching for any change to Goldcorp’s 2015 outlook, details on its Cochenour project and the status of projects to improve production and mine life at Penasquito.

Norwegian oil company Statoil reports first-quarter results. With crude prices plunging, the company’s earnings before interest and tax are seen down 68 percent.

Imperial Oil Ltd, Canada’s No.2 integrated oil company, reports its first-quarter results and holds its annual meeting in Calgary. Items to watch include the company’s progress on the expansion of its Kearl oil sands project and the performance of the Nabiye expansion at its Cold Lake, Alberta site, which began operations only a few months ago.

Coal miner Alpha Natural Resources Inc is expected to report a lower first-quarter profit, hurt by falling coal prices and lower imports from China, the world’s biggest coal consumer. The company has been closing mines to cut costs but officials in West Virginia said earlier this month that it might have to spend on cleaning up the idled mines. Investors will look for comments on the company’s cost cuts and efforts to boost cash flows in a weak market.

Fertilizer companies Potash Corp and Mosaic Co report first-quarter results. Of interest is any update on Potash Corp’s review of equity stakes in ICL, Sinofert, Arab Potash Co and Chile’s SQM. Investors will look at both companies to also get a sense of spending by farmers in an unusual year.

Rockwell Automation Inc, a maker of automation systems, lowered its full-year profit and revenue forecast in January, citing a strong dollar. When the company reports second-quarter results, Rockwell’s investors will also be looking for comments on its performance in Asia as economic growth slows in the region.

Auto parts supplier BorgWarner Inc will report its first-quarter results. Investors will be looking for comments on how much the stronger dollar is expected to hit its revenue this year.

Bunge Ltd, the world’s top oilseed processor, reports first-quarter results as its CEO of two years faces pressure to improve results. The agricultural trading house should report strong results because massive harvests have increased the amount of grain available to store, transport and process. However, Bunge has struggled with hedging and trading losses that have hurt profits.

CME Group, the world’s largest futures exchange operator, is set to report a rise in first-quarter earnings due to higher trading volumes. Executives may address the recent arrest of a British trader on charges he manipulated CME’s futures markets in a scheme that authorities say contributed to the 2010 flash crash.

Western Union Co, the largest payment transfer company, is expected to report a first-quarter profit as more people use its network to transfer cash after a spate of price cuts. Analysts expect Western Union to benefit from stable cross-border pricing and slowing growth of compliance costs.

Expedia Inc, the world’s second-largest online travel services provider, will update investors on the impact of a strong dollar on its bookings and potentially on progress toward its planned acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide Inc.

Consumer products maker Colgate-Palmolive Co is expected to report first-quarter sales below analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, hit by a strong dollar. Colgate resorted to raising prices to buffer the dollar impact, but it cut earnings forecast for 2015, saying that currency fluctuations will remain a challenge throughout the year. Investors will look out for updates on the forecast.

Avon Products Inc, a direct seller of cosmetics, will report first-quarter results before the bell. The company is reportedly exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale of its North America business, which has posted losses for the last three years. Avon reported a much bigger fourth-quarter loss in February, but said it expected its North American business to turn profitable in 2015. Analysts on average are expecting a profit of 7 cents per share and revenue of $1.83 billion for the first quarter.

Cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc will report first-quarter results after the markets close. The company has benefited from governments and businesses ramping up spending to protect their networks from increasingly sophisticated attacks. Investors will look for signs of higher demand and updates on sales of its on-premise equipment.

Harman Industries, the owner of brands such as JBL, is expected to post a third-quarter profit above market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Investors will be looking for updates on Harman’s outlook for the year ending June and the rest of 2015.

Hollywood studio DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc is expected to report a first-quarter profit below analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. DreamWorks’ revenue in its feature film business is set to decline as the company had only one theatrical release planned for 2015.

The New York Times Co is expected to report first-quarter profit above average analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Higher digital subscription and advertising sales have been helping the company balance a fall in print ad revenue.

Solar panel makers SunPower Corp and First Solar Inc are expected to post lower first-quarter revenue as they retain power plants instead of selling them. The companies plan to spin off the units into a limited partnership called 8point3 Energy Partners LP, which they will jointly own. Investors will want to know more about the partnership and the expected cost savings.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo speaks on “Tailoring Community Bank Regulation and Supervision” before the Independent Community Bankers of America Washington Policy Summit in Washington. Tarullo is the Fed’s financial regulation supremo, so any news he might make could be on a raft of new rules still to come out of the Fed. (0830/1230)

Canada’s economy is expected to have contracted 0.1 percent in February as the country continues to grapple with the fall in prices of oil, a major export. The February figures will be watched as an indication of how the first quarter is shaping up. The Bank of Canada expects the impact of oil prices to be more front-loaded to the beginning of the year and it forecasts no growth for the first quarter. (0830/1230)

Mexico’s central bank is expected keep its key interest rate steady at 3 percent to support a sluggish economy after inflation cooled this year despite a slump in the peso to a record low in March. Policymakers have suggested they would be willing to raise interest rates ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve if the peso’s losses spur price pressures and threaten their goal of keeping inflation around 3 percent. But there has been little impact on consumer prices from the peso so far. The bank’s statement is expected to signal that policymakers are worried about slow growth and are inclined to wait out the Fed before raising borrowing costs. (0200/0600)

LIVE CHAT: Reviewing FOMC with Sean Maloney, chief economist and strategist, Finconomics Sean Maloney, chief economist and strategist at Finconomics, will be on the forum from Sydney at 1430 Sydney time (0030 ET/0430 GMT) to tell us what went right and what the other way. To join the conversation, click here bit.ly/1kTxdKD

Compiled by Ayesha Sruti Ahmed in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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