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Coronavirus, Slack earnings, inflation data: What to know in the week ahead

Heidi Chung

Investors will be bracing to another potentially volatile week ahead, as coronavirus infections surpassed 105,000 globally with almost 3,600 confirmed deaths, according to the World Health Organization on March 8. The rapid spread of the virus around the world has rocked global markets. Last week, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) swung 2% in both directions in four consecutive trading sessions.

[Here’s what happened on Friday’s trading session.]

“At one end of this tug-of-war, the coronavirus is causing economic disengagements and will fuel a series of awful economic data reports, negative corporate earnings revisions and financial distress for some companies,” Allianz Chief Economic Advisor Mohamed El-Erian wrote in a Yahoo Finance column over the weekend. “These cascading economic ‘sudden stops’ involve a phenomenon that’s extremely rare in advanced economies: simultaneous supply and demand dislocations.”

[Read more: Six things investors should remember amid extreme stock market volatility: El-Erian]

Consumer price index (CPI)

On the economic data front, investors will get the latest CPI data ahead of the market open Wednesday. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect the Consumer Price Index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, rose 0.2% in February, following a strong increase last month.

Like most recent economic data reports, February’s CPI data will likely not capture impact from the coronavirus, according to economists. “We think it is too early to see a significant impact from the COVID-19 outbreak in the February CPI report, although we assume some modest impact on tourism-related services,” Nomura economist Lewis Alexander wrote in a note March 6.

“Beyond February, we expect the domestic and international spread of COVID-19 to exert disinflationary pressure on net. While supply shortages of imported goods might push up prices of certain goods, demand shocks on domestic services as well as energy prices should drive down a wide variety of goods and service prices, likely outweighing the inflationary pressure due to supply chain disruptions,” Alexander explained.

Slack earnings

Slack (WORK) fourth-quarter financial results will be in focus in an otherwise quiet week for corporate earnings. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the online chat company to report an adjusted loss of 6 cents per share on $173.46 million in revenue during its fourth quarter.

Slack shares have risen an impressive 13% so far in 2020 and have outperformed the broader market’s 8.7% decline during the same time period. The options market is implying a 13.75% move in either direction for the stock following earnings.

Economic calendar

Monday: N/A

Tuesday: NFIB Small Business Optimism, February (102.8 expected, 104.3 in January)

Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended March 6 (15.1% prior); CPI month-on-month, February (0.0% expected, 0.1% in January); CPI excluding food & energy month-on-month, February (0.2% expected, 0.2% in January); CPI year-on-year, February (2.2% expected, 2.5% in January); Monthly Budget Statement, February (-$248.1 billion expected, -$234.0 billion in January)

Thursday: PPI Final Demand month-on-month, February (-0.1% expected, 0.5% in January); PPI excluding food & energy month-on-month, February (0.2% expected, 0.5% in January); PPI Final Demand year-on-year, February (1.8% expected, 2.1% in January); PPI excluding food & energy year-on-year, February (1.7% expected, 1.7% in January); Initial Jobless Claims, week ended March 7 (216,000 expected, 216,000 prior); Continuing Claims, week ended February 29 (1.729 million prior); Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, week of March 8 (63.0 prior)

Friday: Import Price Index month-on-month, February (-1.0% expected, 0.0% in January); University of Michigan Sentiment, March preliminary (95.0 expected, 101.0 prior)

Earnings calendar

Monday: N/A

Tuesday: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) before market open

Wednesday: N/A

Thursday: Broadcom (AVGO), Gap (GPS), Oracle (ORCL), Slack (WORK), Ulta Beauty (ULTA) after market close

Friday: N/A 

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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