May 5, 2015 / 6:59 PM / 3 years ago

What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Wednesday, May 6

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A survey of private payrolls for April will give an early snapshot into the larger employment situation ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday. Private payrolls processor ADP is expected to report that private firms added 200,000 jobs last month, a rise from the 189,000 jobs added in March. (0815/1215) Separately, the U.S. Labor Department will release data on productivity at U.S. non-farm businesses in the first quarter of the year. Analysts polled by Reuters expect productivity costs to have fallen 1.8 percent in the quarter. (0830/1230)

Metlife Inc, the largest U.S. life insurer, is expected to report a first-quarter profit below analysts’ expectations, hurt by losses from investments and derivatives. With investments mainly in bonds, Metlife’s returns have been hurt by lower yields due to historically low interest rates. Metlife has been scaling back on capital-intensive businesses such as annuities to focus more on traditional life insurance and pension products. Separately, life insurer Prudential Financial Inc is expected to report a first-quarter profit below the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company, which gets more than half of its revenue from operations outside the United States, mainly Japan, is likely to be hurt by a strong dollar. Prudential remains one of the three insurers designated “systemically important” and the company will continue to be subjected to tougher oversight.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde participate in the “Finance and Society” conversation in the Institute for New Economic Thinking Conference on Finance and Society, hosted by the IMF in Washington. (0915/1315) Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George speaks at the same event later in the day. (1315/1715) Separately, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy before a luncheon hosted by the Baton Rouge Rotary in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (1330/1730)

The European Union will announce a wide-ranging probe into how big technology companies, such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, use their market power as it considers whether to regulate them more tightly. The inquiry, which by its nature will inevitably focus heavily on U.S. firms, follows calls from France and Germany for regulation of so-called “essential digital platforms”. European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip will unveil his “Digital Single Market Strategy” at noon in Brussels. (0600 ET/1000 GMT) The inquiry differs from an antitrust investigation of the kind launched by the EU into Google five years ago, in that it is not aimed at enforcing existing law through penalties.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc will release its first-quarter results. Investors will want an update on whether the construction of the company’s battery plant in Las Vegas remains on track. They will also seek details from CEO Elon Musk on demand for the Model S in the United States and other markets, especially China, where sales have been disappointing. Also awaited will be an update on the rollout of the Model X SUV and further plans for Tesla’s home battery business.

Twenty-First Century Fox reports third-quarter results as TV viewership habits continue to shift. Analysts are expected to ask about the company’s slimmed down cable offerings, including Verizon’s new skinny package that Fox said violated its carriage contracts. They will also ask about any forthcoming video streaming products in the pipeline.

Hospitals operator Kindred Healthcare Inc is expected to report first-quarter earnings in line with analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as the company continues to maintain a healthy pace of hospital admissions growth. The integration of Kindred’s recent acquisition, home health service provider Gentiva, remains on track and is expected to improve Kindred’s cost structure.

Wellcare Health Plan Inc is slated to report its first-quarter results. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, the company’s revenue and profit will be in line with average analyst estimates. Although there has been a rise in memberships for government plans, investors are keeping a close watch on insurers and hospitals for signs that medical use and costs are rising more rapidly than expected, which can hurt insurers’ profits and help hospitals.

Refiner HollyFrontier Corp will report first-quarter results that are expected to be driven by higher demand and higher margins in the company’s refining operations. HollyFrontier, which reduced its repurchase activity in the fourth quarter to preserve cash for a potential deal, now expects to ramp up buybacks in the first quarter. Investors will look for updates on the company’s repurchase program. Other companies reporting first-quarter results in the day include Chesapeake Energy Corp, Marathon Oil Corp, Occidental Petroleum Corp and Transocean Ltd.

Offshore driller Rowan Cos Inc is expected to report a fall in adjusted first-quarter profit as weak oil prices weigh on drilling activity. The company said in April it had reduced prices for five jack-up rigs contracted to Saudi Arabia’s oil company Saudi Aramco. Investors will look for comments on more price concessions. They will also look for cost cuts.

Fertilizer maker CF Industries Holdings Inc reports first-quarter results after the markets close. Investors will look for an update on the company’s aggressive expansion plans in the United States and views on the U.S. planting season.

Whole Foods Market Inc is advertising for the first time and lowering its prices in a bid to shake its “Whole Paycheck” nickname and fight competition from specialty retailers such as Sprouts Farmers Market Inc, Fresh Market Inc and Trader Joe’s as well as mainstream retailers such as Kroger Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Whole Foods reports second-quarter results after the markets close.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, is expected to report a rise in first-quarter core profit (EBITDA), adjusted for one-off items, according to the average estimate of a Reuters survey.

Wendy’s Co, the No.3 U.S. hamburger chain, is expected to report first-quarter sales below analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as it loses out to casual dining restaurants that offer healthier options. Investors will look for any revisions in the company’s full-year profit forecast and updates on its restructuring plans.

Motorola Solutions Inc, the maker of walkie-talkies and radio systems, is expected to report a first-quarter profit below analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as it slashed costs. However, the company’s revenue is expected to remain flat as weak government spending was offset by stronger demand from North America.

Travel review website TripAdvisor Inc is expected to report lower first-quarter revenue, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, hurt by a strong dollar. Investors will await the company’s forecast for the rest of the year.

Videogame maker Activision Blizzard Inc is expected to report first-quarter revenue above the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, helped by robust sales and subscription of its “World of Warcraft” and “Destiny” titles. Analysts expect the company to raise its full-year earnings forecast.

Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital hosts the $3 trillion hedge fund industry’s largest conference, the SALT Hedge Fund Conference, in Las Vegas, featuring prominent hedge fund managers including Daniel Loeb and former policymakers such as Fed ex-Chairman Ben Bernanke. Dozens of big-name investors ranging from the Austin Firefighters Pension Fund to Morgan Stanley to Tulane University and the University of Florida will be attending and mingling in the hallways and by the swimming pools discussing industry trends and potential problems.

When Brazilian government statistics agency IBGE releases its March industrial output report, economists expect another weak month for Brazilian manufacturers, the weakest link of what appears to be Brazil’s worst recession in 25 years. Output from Brazilian factories and mines in March is expected to have reduced by a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent from the previous month, when it fell 0.9 percent, according to the median forecast of 26 economists in a Reuters poll. (0800/1200) Separately, Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray is slated to give a speech at an infrastructure conference at 9:00 a.m. local time (1000 ET/1400 GMT).

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

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