December 17, 2014 / 7:37 PM / 3 years ago

What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, Dec. 18

(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) Nike Inc, the world’s largest sportswear maker, is expected to report strong second-quarter results as it gains market share in Europe at the expense of rivals such as Adidas. Market share gains in the United States, particularly in the basketball and running shoes segments, and strong demand in China are also expected to boost results. Investors will be looking out for changes to Nike’s full-year forecast, as the impact from the stronger dollar is likely to have increased since the company reported in September. Accenture Plc, the consulting and outsourcing company, is expected to report profit marginally above estimates in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company’s consulting business has grown over the last two quarters helped by newer business offerings and the signing of several large contracts. Accenture had said that it expected profitability to improve this fiscal year as it looked to trim down operating costs. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia business index for the Mid-Atlantic region is expected to show factory activity grew at a slower pace in December after expanding at its highest pace in more than a decade in November (1000/1500). Separately, financial data firm Markit is expected to report its “flash” services purchasing managers index rose to 56.9, from the prior month’s 56.2 (0945/1445). Meanwhile, the Labor Department issues weekly jobless claims figures. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits is expected to increase by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 295,000 (0830/1330). ConAgra Foods Inc is expected to report second-quarter results. The company is focusing on healthier options such as low-fat meals to boost its consumer brands business. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew presides over the open meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which groups together top U.S. regulators, in Washington. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen also attends the meeting (1100/1600). The Financial Stability Oversight Council is likely to subject MetLife to tougher capital rules and oversight by the Federal Reserve. The designation as a systemically important firm has been in the works for months, but a vote on the final designation is expected tomorrow. Red Hat Inc, a maker of open-source software, is expected to report third-quarter profit below analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. In September, the company forecast lower-than-expected revenue for the quarter due to slower billings growth. Analysts also expect foreign exchange headwinds and slower growth in some regions to weigh on results. Investors will be looking forward to management commentary on fourth-quarter outlook. U.S. based multinational conglomerate General Electric Co will sign a contract on electricity grid maintenance services with Cambodia’s state-owned Electricite du Cambodge. GE will also conduct a study of Cambodia’s electricity grid to identify ways that the grid can be improved. Winnebago Industries Inc, a maker of motorhomes and camping trailers, is expected to report another strong quarter of sales, boosted by rising consumer confidence and plunging gas prices. The national statistics agency of Mexico releases retail sales data for October. The 0.7 percent fall in sales in September, compared with August, was the biggest in nine months as uneven consumer demand weighed on a sluggish recovery in Latin America’s No. 2 economy (0900/1400). (Compiled by Sourav Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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