U.S. Markets closed

Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

Here’s a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow.

1. GDP Growth Expected to Slow

The latest figures on U.S. economic growth headline the economic calendar tomorrow, with the market expecting a more modest expansion.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis will report advance fourth-quarter 2018 gross domestic product at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT).

Economists, on average, expect that growth slowed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.6%, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

Economic “momentum appears to remain on a trajectory in Q1 2019,” FocusEconomics said in a note this week. “In December, the ISM manufacturing index posted its steepest monthly decline in a decade. Moreover, consumer confidence tanked in the month, retail sales unexpectedly contracted and existing home sales fell to an over three-year low.”

“This suggests private consumption softened in Q4, which was likely compounded by a sharp fall in equity prices in December,” FocusEconomics said.

The weekly report on initial jobless claims is due at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT).

The forecast of economists polled by Investing.com is for a small gain to 221,000, up 2.3% from the week before. The U.S. jobs picture in the aggregate has been very strong, even if wage gains haven't been quite as strong.

In addition, investors will watch the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, a measure that looks at the health of manufacturing in the Chicago region. The report comes out at 9:45 a.m. ET (14:45 GMT).

The forecast, according to economists polled by Investing.com, is for the index to rise to 58.1 from 56.7 in January. The index had fallen modestly from prior months in November, December and January.

In addition there will be Fed speakers, although the market may be a little overloaded on central bank talk after two days of testimony from Fed chief Jerome Powell.

At 11 AM ET, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will give a speech on economic outlook at The Philadelphia Inquirer's Influencers of Finance.

At 1 PM ET, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will participate in a Q&A at the Real Estate Council of San Antonio.

2. This Earnings Report's for You

The world’s largest brewer is on tap to report earnings tomorrow morning.

Anheuser Busch Inbev (NYSE:BUD) is expected to report a profit of $1.01 per share on sales of about $14 billion.

Shares have rebounded since the stock followed the broader market lower in December. They are about back to the level seen just after they took a sharp dive in late October following results that missed on the top and bottom lines.

Also reporting Thursday:

Hotel company Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR). The forecast for the lodging giant, according to analysts polled by Investing.com, is $1.39 a share on revenue of $5.53 billion

Software maker Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK), The software maker is forecast to earn $0.42 a share on revenue of $707.3 million.

Entertainment ticketing company Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE:LYV). The company is forecast to show a loss of 74 cents a share on revenue of $2.38 billion, according to analysts polled by Investing.com.

Department store operator JC Penney (NYSE:JCP). The retailer is expected to earn $0.11 a share on revenue of $3.72 billion.

Software company VMware (NYSE:VMW). The company is expect to report earnings of $1.88 a share on revenue of $2.5 billion.

3. Geopolitics Moving the Market

Markets have been very sensitive about the news on the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Wednesday's stock-market decline was due in large part to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's comment that a lot of hard work is still needed to get a deal, and it is not clear when a deal will get done. So, the idea is higher tariffs is alive at least for now

Also President Donald Trump has been meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Vietnam in hopes of getting Kim's country to halt its nuclear weapons program. Real progress would be bullish.

In addition, investors will be watching for any further escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan.

Related Articles

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.79%

Canada stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/TSX Composite down 0.19%

Stocks Moving After Hours: Salesforce.com, Google, Arcosa, Floor and Decor