Next Week’s News Today: It’s Earnings Season Again

It is earnings season again in the US of A. Alcoa kicks off proceedings for the Dow Jones Industrial Average with fourth-quarter numbers on Monday, after the market closes.

The figures could be closely eyed for a handle on the severity of China’s economic slowdown. Profits at the miner are expected to plunge from 33 cents a share a year ago to just 4 cents this time.

Later in the week, there will be numbers from US banks. These include JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo & Co. Banks are expected to provide some nice surprises, which should make a welcome change to the dark Chinese cloud that has been hanging over the market. Intel will also step up to the crease next week.

On the economic front, a good set of US retail sales figures could do wonders for market confidence on Friday. Over the last 12 months, retail sales have grown at steady clip, though they have been below the long-run average.

In terms of US consumer confidence, a good set of numbers from the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading could help soothe market jitters too.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence is rising in Japan. Last month, the figures showed that confidence amongst Japanese consumers rose to its highest since September 2013. The Japanese Cabinet Office will report the latest numbers on Tuesday.

China will step forward next week with some economic data. Its import and export figures could give some bean counters a chance to vent their spleen. But the numbers only matter, if they haven’t been following closely China’s strategy to become more a more consumer-led economy.

Finally, Singapore reports Retail Sales figures for November on Friday. Consumer spending has been growing, albeit at a sluggish pace. In October, the year-on-year increase was a pedestrian 2.7%, which is marginally higher than the growth rate between 2010 and 2015. Keep an eye on department store Metro Holdings (SGX: M01), luxury retailer FJ Benjamin (SGX: F10) and Wing Tai Holdings (SGX: W05), which operates Topshop, Topman  and Uniqlo in Singapore.

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