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Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

Investing.com - Dozens of companies from a range of industries, including technology, financials and consumer products, will report quarterly results in the week ahead as the first-quarter earnings season on Wall Street gets underway.

Meanwhile, U.S. economic reports will remain in focus as investors watch for further signals on the strength of the economy, with the latest retail sales report topping the agenda.

Elsewhere, China will be the first major economy to report first-quarter growth data when it publishes its GDP numbers this week. While the world's second-largest economy has shown some signs of steadying recently, analysts caution it is too early to tell if the newfound momentum can be sustained.

In Europe, markets are keeping an eye on flash PMI surveys on manufacturing and service sector activity, which should give further indication of how the region's economy is faring amid global trade conflicts and messy Brexit negotiations.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. U.S. Q1 Earnings Season

The U.S. first-quarter earnings season got off to a strong start with JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE:JPM) quarterly earnings report on Friday.

Rival Wall Street lenders Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) report their latest results on Monday, followed by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) on Tuesday and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) on Wednesday.

Some of other high-profile names reporting this week are Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and IBM (NYSE:IBM), both due Tuesday after the closing bell.

Results from Netflix will be particularly in focus after Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) gave details last week about its direct-to-consumer streaming service, which will launch on Nov. 12 at a cost of $6.99 per month.

Pepsico (NASDAQ:PEP), UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), United Continental (NASDAQ:UAL), CSX (NASDAQ:CSX), Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT), Honeywell (NYSE:HON), and American Express (NYSE:AXP) are also slated to post earnings during the week.

2. U.S. Retail Sales

The Commerce Department will release data on retail sales for March at 8:30AM ET (12:30 GMT) on Thursday.

The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales rose 0.9%, following a shock decline of 0.2% in February.

Excluding the automobile sector, sales are expected to grow 0.7%, after falling 0.4% in the preceding month.

Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy.

Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

This week's holiday-shortened calendar also features the latest Empire State and Philadelphia Fed surveys, as well as data on building permits and housing starts.

U.S. markets will remain closed on Friday for Good Friday.

3. China Q1 GDP

China will post its first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) on Wednesday morning.

The data is expected to show the world's second-largest economy grew 6.3% in the first three months of 2019, slowing from the previous quarter's 6.4% pace, as sluggish demand at home and abroad weigh on activity despite a flurry of policy support measures.

The Asian nation will also publish data on March industrial production, fixed asset investment and retail sales along with the GDP report.

Recent data has shown that China's economy may be losing steam, underlining concerns about the fallout from the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute.

4. Flash Euro Zone PMIs

IHS Markit's composite flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone is due at 4:00AM ET (09:00 GMT) on Thursday, amid expectations for a slight increase to 51.7 from the prior month's reading of 51.6.

The index measures the combined output of both the manufacturing and service sectors and is seen as a good guide to overall economic health.

Ahead of the euro zone PMI's, France and Germany will release their own PMI reports at 3:15AM ET (8:15 GMT) and 3:30AM ET (8:30 GMT) respectively.

With the economy and inflation both slowing, the European Central Bank has already backtracked on its plans to tighten policy this year, unveiling instead even more stimulus to prop up an export-focused economy now struggling amid a global slowdown in trade.

5. Will API Build Streak Continue?

Oil bears could get a hand on Tuesday when the American Petroleum Institute’s snapshot of weekly U.S. oil inventories arrives, a day ahead of the official government tally. The API data has shown three-straight weeks of builds.

West Texas Intermediate and global oil benchmark Brent rose for a sixth-straight week last week as Libya’s civil war put a geopolitical premium on a market already squeezed by OPEC cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan and Iranian oil.

WTI is up 6% thus far for April while Brent has gained 5% after first quarter advances of about 30% for both.

-- Reuters contributed to this report

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