LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.
The prospect of sanctions against Russia being approved as soon as Monday, after a referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia, is likely to set a gloomy backdrop for financial markets in the coming week. Russian assets have already been hammered as investors pull out, and emerging markets more broadly are on the back foot. Some are warning that a prolonged standoff over Ukraine could take a toll on Russian growth.
* Russian stocks plunge to 2009 lows as Crimea sanctions loom
* FACTBOX-Western sanctions against Russia
* BREAKINGVIEWS-Rouble hard to defend against Putin’s attacks
* Turkish central bank rate decision March 18, Philippines March 20, Mexico March 21
Worries over economic slowdown in China have also contributed to the wariness in markets. Beyond the “big picture” themes of Ukraine and China, domestic political concerns are hanging over the likes of Turkey, South Africa and Turkey. This is even prompting some local investors to pull money out of emerging markets and seek more liquid and stable investments elsewhere.
* Local investors join exodus from emerging markets
* High yield bonds draw investors as emerging debt loses them
* Investors shun emerging market shares as profit squeeze lingers
The yen and the Swiss franc, traditional safe havens in turbulent times, have been the main beneficiaries from the turmoil over Ukraine. Some have cited the threat of U.S. sanctions undermining the dollar in favour of the “non-aligned” franc. The euro has done pretty well too, hitting a 2 1/2-year high versus the dollar before European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the exchange rate had a significant impact on low inflation and reiterated that the bank was ready to act to combat the threat of deflation.
* ECB ready to fight deflation, keep close eye on euro - Draghi
* Euro heading for 3-year highs as ECB sees muted inflation impact
* Draghi holds course in face of deflation threat
* Euro zone final February inflation data due March 17
The Federal Reserve’s policy meeting in the coming week will be watched for any detail on how far and how fast interest rates will rise once the U.S. central bank embarks on its tightening cycle. Policymakers have been keen in recent weeks to stress that rates will go up only gradually. As for when the tightening begins, economists polled by Reuters on March 12 plumped for the third quarter of next year.
* Fed set to ditch “threshold” guidance under Yellen
* Fed seen hiking U.S. rates in 2nd half of 2015 as jobless rate falls
* For eventual tightening, Fed to signal slow rate rises
* U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision March 19
* Swiss National Bank monetary policy assessment March 20
* Bank of England policy meeting minutes March 19
The earnings season is all but over and both headline revenue and earnings statistics look good for Europe, although first-quarter revisions to sales are down by an average 1.4 pct. Earnings, though, have been revised up an average 4.6 pct. Looking at the STOXX Europe 600, standout losers sectorally on earnings are energy and industrials, but while the latter saw much better sales, energy was the laggard once again. The biggest loser so far on Q1 earnings revisions is the IT sector, while financials look like having a happy few months, with an average upward revision of nearly 38 percent.
* Computers dethrone humans in European stock trading
* Global investors’ bet on Europe recovery picks up pace (Compiled by Nigel Stephenson; Editing by Susan Fenton)