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Economic Calendar – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

imageEconomy22 hours ago (Aug 16, 2020 08:48AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Jesse Cohen – Wall Street’s earnings season is winding down but there are a number of reports from some major retailers in the coming days, with Walmart (NYSE:WMT) likely to draw the most attention.

Investors will also focus on the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, due on Wednesday, for further insight into the outlook for monetary policy through the end of the year and beyond.

Several important economic reports are also expected, with weekly jobless claims data on Thursday topping the list.

Elsewhere, 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 coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, commodity traders will focus on this week’s Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee, or JMMC, meeting of major crude producers as they review the latest developments in oil markets.

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

1. Walmart Earnings

Walmart is one of the biggest names slated to report second-quarter results this week, as the earnings season on Wall Street continues to wind down.

The retail giant is expected to report earnings per share of $1.25 on revenue of $135.29 billion, according to analysts polled by, when it reports before the opening bell on Tuesday.

Walmart has been one of the strongest performers in the retail space in recent months, with shares up around 30% from their March lows, thanks in large part to rapid growth in e-commerce and online sales amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Other notable companies reporting results this week include, Target (NYSE:TGT), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW), Kohls (NYSE:KSS), TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX), Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).

2. Fed FOMC Meeting Minutes

The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET.

The U.S. central bank left interest rates on hold at the conclusion of its policy meeting on July 29 and pledged to keep the monetary spigot wide open until the economy has weathered the impact of the virus.

The Fed acknowledged that economic activity had picked up somewhat in recent months, though conceded that it remained “well below” levels seen at the beginning of the year.

Recent economic data has validated the central bank’s concerns as strength in the labor market and consumer confidence appear to be on the wane.

3. U.S. Jobless Claims

The Labor Department will release weekly data on initial jobless claims at 8:30AM ET Thursday.

After falling below one million last week for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, this week’s data is expected to show that 990,000 Americans likely applied for unemployment benefits last week.

Besides jobless claims, this week’s calendar also features data on building permits, housing starts, existing home sales, as well as flash manufacturing and services PMI readings. A survey on manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia area will also be in focus.

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 Friday, amid expectations for a slight decline to 54.7.

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 (08:15 GMT) and 3:30AM ET (08:30 GMT) respectively.

5. OPEC-JMMC Meetings

The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee, or JMMC, which monitors compliance with production cuts among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known collectively as OPEC+, is scheduled to hold a meeting via video conference on Tuesday.

That will follow Monday’s meeting of the Joint Technical Committee, which will provide the JMMC with a report on recent oil market developments.

At the July JMMC meeting, OPEC+ said it would allow record production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day to decrease to 7.7 million barrels per day starting in August.

Economic Calendar – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week