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Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

EconomyApr 21, 2019 05:47AM ET
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© Reuters. - U.S. gross domestic product, a hectic week of earnings and interest rate decisions in Japan, Canada and Turkey will keep market watchers on their toes this week as markets return from Eater holidays. Financial markets in Europe are to remain closed on Monday.

Here’s what you need to know to start your week.

1. U.S. GDP

An advance reading of U.S. economic growth in the first three months of 2019 is set to be released on Friday. Growth was 2.2% in the final quarter of 2018.

Economists are more upbeat about the first quarter growth outlook after data last week showing that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in February as Chinese imports plunged in the face of President Donald Trump's tariffs.

Another report showed that U.S. retail sales grew at their strongest pace in one-and-a-half years in March.

One closely tracked gauge of quarterly GDP, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's GDPNow forecast model, showed Thursday that the economy expanded at a 2.8% annualized rate in the first quarter.

A month ago, GDPNow estimated annualized growth of just 0.2%, which would have been the lowest since a one-off GDP contraction in the first 2014 quarter.

2. Other economic reports

Ahead of the GDP report, data on Thursday will look at durable goods orders for March, with the consensus forecast for a rebound of 0.7% after a 1.6% decline in February. Other U.S. data includes reports on homes sales on Monday and Tuesday and a look at consumer sentiment on Friday.

Germany’s Ifo business confidence index, due on Wednesday, will be closely watched amid lingering concerns over the outlook for the euro area’s largest economy at a time when European Central Bank policymakers are debating whether stimulus measures are enough to spur inflation.

3. Earnings kick into high gear

U.S. first quarter earnings season ramps up after getting off to a mixed start with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) all reporting.

Also on the docket are Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), United Tech (NYSE:UTX), Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG), AT&T (NYSE:T), Boeing (NYSE:BA), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Visa (NYSE:V), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Exxon (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX).

In Europe, the auto sector will be in focus with a flurry of earnings due from Michelin (PA:MICP), Continental (LON:0LQ1), Daimler (LON:0NXX), Peugeot (PA:PEUP), and Renault (PA:RENA). These stocks are particularly sensitive to growth in China and will be watched as the stirrings of a recovery were felt in recent Chinese GDP data .

4. Central banks

Central banks in Japan, Canada and Turkey are all to hold meetings this week.

The Bank of Japan is widely expected to keep monetary policy on hold at its meeting on Thursday and to forecast that it expects inflation to remain below its 2% target.

The BOJ is facing a daunting task in its years-long efforts to help push up inflation toward its 2% goal, with a slowdown in global growth and trade making its task even more difficult.

The Bank of Canada will meet on Wednesday, with no change in interest rates expected.

Turkey’s central bank is to announce its latest rate decision on Thursday, and is also expected to keep rates on hold. The lira has recently come under pressure amid speculation that the central bank is borrowing to boost its foreign currency reserves.

5. U.S.-Japan trade talks

Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are due to meet in the White House on Friday for talks on U.S.-Japan trade and efforts to contain North Korea’s nuclear program.

Last week U.S. and Japanese officials held a first round of talks toward a new trade deal Trump has sought and the U.S. side raised concerns over the “very large” trade deficit with Tokyo.

Discussions on North Korea are likely to cover next steps after Trump’s failed meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February.

-- Reuters contributed to this report

Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

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