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Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

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

1. Jobless Claims Come as Payrolls Near

More labor data comes tomorrow, just a day away from the February nonfarm payrolls report.

The weekly jobless claims numbers arrive at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT).

On average, economists expect that claims for first-time unemployment benefits remained steady at 225,000, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

On Thursday, the Fed’s Beige Book noted "labor markets remained tight for all skill levels" and "prices continued to increase at a modest-to-moderate pace."

Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve’s Lael Brainard will speak at 12:15 PM ET on economic outlook and monetary policy at Princeton University.

2. ECB Expected to Stand Pat

The European Central Bank delivers its decision on monetary policy Thursday and is widely expected to leave its base rate, marginal lending rate and deposit facility unchanged at 0%, 0.25% and -0.4% respectively.

ECB President Mario Draghi will deliver remarks in a press conference at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT), on monetary policy and the health of the eurozone, with many expecting the central bank chief to echo that risks to outlook are tilted to the downside.

Ahead of the ECB meeting, reports that the central bank is set to cut growth forecasts and signal fresh stimulus to support economic growth, pressured the euro, but the single currency recovered losses to end roughly flat.

EUR/USD rose 0.02% to $1.1309.

3. Kroger and Costco Numbers Due

Retail, or to be more precise, retail and members-club wholesale, lead the earnings calendar tomorrow.

After the bell, Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) is expected to report $1.69 per share in earnings, according to analyst forecasts compiled by Investing.com. Revenue is projected at $35.66 billion, up 8.9% from a year ago.

Ahead of trading, Kroger (NYSE:KR), the supermarket giant, is expected to report 52 cents a share in earnings, down from 63 cents a year ago, with revenue at $28.5 billion, down from $31 billion.

Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL), parent of Burlington Coat Factory, is projected to report $2.77 a share for the quarter. The revenue forecast is $2.05 billion.

Bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is expected to report earnings of $1.10 a share. Analysts are forecasting revenue of $1.24 billion.

Tax-preparation company H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) is expected to report a loss of 55 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Investing.com, better than the year-ago loss of $1.16. The revenue forecast is $465.5 million, down 4.7% from a year ago.

Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV) is seen losing 18 cents a share. That would be up 3 cents from a year ago’s loss of 21 cents. Revenue of $390.7 million would be off 6.3% from $417.2 million in the year-ago period.

Newspaper publisher McClatchy (NYSE:MNI) should report $1.19 a share in earnings, up from 72 cents a year ago, according to analysts polled by Investing.com. Revenue is expected at $223.9 million, down 5.3% from a year ago.

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