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Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

Investing.com - Trade rhetoric could hang over the market in the coming week, as investors watch further developments surrounding the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China.

Headlines on trade were a positive last week, including one that the U.S. was considering rolling back tariffs and another that China was offering to ramp up U.S. imports.

The holiday-shortened week ahead also marks the first big week of the fourth-quarter earnings season on Wall Street, with nearly 60 S&P companies set to report.

On the data front, economic reports will be limited due to the government shutdown. Regularly scheduled durable goods will not be available, but there will be existing home sales data on Tuesday.

U.S. markets will remain closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Elsewhere, China will be the first major economy to report fourth-quarter growth data when it publishes its GDP numbers this week, amid warnings from analysts that the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. was likely to drag on economic activity.

Meanwhile, in central bank news, monetary policy announcements from the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan will be on the agenda, though it's highly unlikely either will rock the boat policy-wise.

Political headlines will also be in focus as investors watch developments surrounding the U.S. government shutdown, now in its 29th day, and British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

Another headliner this week will be the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which kicks off on Tuesday. The forum will not be attended by U.S. President Donald Trump or representatives of his administration as a result of the government shutdown. Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron also won’t be in attendance.

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.-China Trade Optimism

Markets will also be keeping abreast of the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China to see if any more news materializes amid recent signs the world's two biggest economies are working to resolve their differences.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday there has been progress toward a trade deal with China, but denied that he was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese imports.

"Things are going very well with China and with trade," he told reporters at the White House, adding that he had seen some "false reports" indicating that U.S. tariffs on Chinese products would be lifted.

"If we make a deal certainly we would not have sanctions and if we don't make a deal we will," Trump said.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. on Jan. 30 and 31 for the next round of trade negotiations with Washington.

That follows lower-level negotiations held in Beijing last week to resolve the bitter dispute between the world's two largest economies by March 2, when the Trump administration is scheduled to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

2. Fourth-Quarter Earnings Season Kicks into High Gear

There are about 60 S&P 500 companies reporting earnings in the week ahead, including seven Dow stocks, in what will be the second big week of the fourth-quarter earnings season.

Tuesday sees Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), Travelers (NYSE:TRV), and Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD) post results in the morning, while IBM (NYSE:IBM) is due in after the close along with TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD), and Capital One (NYSE:COF).

On Wednesday, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT), and Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) report earnings in pre-market hours, while Ford (NYSE:F), Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN), United Rentals (NYSE:URI), Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX), and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) will post results in the evening.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU), Textron (NYSE:TXT), Freeport-McMoran (NYSE:FCX), and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) are on the docket Thursday morning. After the close, results are expected from Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC), E-TRADE (NASDAQ:ETFC), and Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG).

Finally, corporate results from AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) and DR Horton (NYSE:DHI) round up the week on Friday.

3. China Q4 GDP

China is to release fourth-quarter GDP figures on Monday morning.

The report is expected to show the world's second-largest economy grew 6.4% in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, slowing from the previous quarter's 6.5% pace and matching levels last seen in early 2009 during the global financial crisis.

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

Recent data has started to show that China's economy may be losing steam, raising concerns about the potential fallout from the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute.

The U.S. has slapped tariffs on more than half of over $500 billion in Chinese imports, for which China has retaliated, after several rounds of negotiations failed to resolve U.S. complaints over Chinese industrial policies and lack of market access in China.

4. European Central Bank Policy Meeting

The European Central Bank is all but certain to keep interest rates at their current record low levels at the conclusion of its monetary policy meeting at 12:45 GMT (7:45AM ET) on Thursday.

President Mario Draghi will hold a closely-watched press conference 45 minutes after the rate announcement as investors seek further clues on when the central bank plans to start hiking borrowing costs.

After ending its asset-purchase program at its previous meeting in December, markets expected the ECB would follow with a rate rise in the third quarter of 2019.

But a barrage of weak data suggesting growth has slowed prompted traders to push back expectations for a rate hike to the fourth quarter of this year.

This week's calendar also features flash January PMI surveys on manufacturing and service sector activity, which should give further indication of how the region's economy is coping with global trade conflicts and messy Brexit negotiations.

5. Bank of Japan Policy Meeting

The Bank of Japan is widely expected to keep monetary policy unchanged at its two-day rate review ending on Wednesday, maintaining a pledge to guide short-term interest rates at minus 0.1% and long-term bond yields around zero percent.

It will also issue a quarterly report analyzing Japan's economy that will include fresh growth and inflation forecasts through the fiscal year ending in March 2021.

BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a press conference afterward to discuss the decision.

According to sources familiar with the central bank's thinking, the BoJ is expected to cut its inflation forecasts to reflect recent declines in oil prices, but maintain its upbeat assessment that Japan's economy will keep expanding moderately.

-- Reuters contributed to this report

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