The Week Ahead: Dealing With Frexit
The people of France could wake up to a new leader on Monday morning. But it more likely that they will have to wait until 7 May, when the second round of French presidential election is held.
Currently, the four frontrunners are the independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Penn from the far-right, conservative, Francois Fillon, and the far-left Jean Luc- Melenchon.
We will get a first look at how the US economy performed in the first quarter. The market is expecting economic growth to have accelerated in the first three months of the year. In the final quarter of 2016, the annualised growth was 2.1%. This time around, it could be 2.5%.
US new home sales have almost become the go-to economic number for some observers. The argument is that a strong housing market could provide the foundation to help pave the way for economic growth. In February, sales of new single-family homes jumped 6.1% to 592,000 units.
The European Central Bank will announce its latest interest-rate decision. It has been held at 0% for nine consecutive months. April is unlikely to be any different. The ECB is also unlikely to change its purchase of assets, which could continue at €60 billion until the year of the year.
The UK, which is gearing up for a General Election on 8 May, will report GDP numbers for the first quarter. The UK economy grew 1.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016. This time it could be a tad higher at 2%, for the first three months of 2017. But given that retail sales are showing signs of coming off the boil, it could be as good as it gets.
On the earnings front, a couple of heavyweight banks will report quarterly results. They are United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) and DBS Group (SGX: D05). Analysts appear to have lost interest in harping on about Non-Performing Loans. They have finally realised that they were barking up the wrong tree. So the focus this time around could be Net Interest Income.
A quintet of Jardine companies is pencilled in for trading updates. They are Jardine Matheson (SGX: J36), Hongkong Land (SGX: H78), Mandarin Oriental (SGX: M04), Dairy Farm (SGX: D01) and Jardine Cycle & Carriage (SGX: C07).