CORRECTED-What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Tuesday, Feb. 24
(Corrects to remove reference to BHP Billiton, which reported its half-yearly results at 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 23 (8:30 a.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, Feb. 24)) Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gives semiannual testimony on the economy and monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee. The markets will be focused on Yellen's two-day testimony, as investors further coalesce around the idea of an interest-rate hike by June or September. (1000/1500) Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, is expected to report a rise in revenue in the fourth quarter as elections boost political ad sales. The company has been in talks with Time Warner Inc for a merger which is expected to close some time in 2015. Comcast's filmed entertainment business Universal Pictures is also set to dominate the box office with its release of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" followed by a strong pipeline of movies for 2015. Analysts will be looking for outlook on coming quarters and an update on the deal. Home Depot Inc, the world's largest home improvement chain, will report fourth-quarter earnings. Same-store sales are likely to grow faster this year as customers renovate homes with big-ticket purchases such as wood and laminate flooring in a recovering U.S. housing market. Investors will be looking for updates on online security following a data breach and how sales shaped up during the holiday season. Hewlett-Packard Co is expected to report first-quarter earnings slightly above analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Analysts expect share growth in a moderating PC market and a pick-up in HP's server business to help results. The company plans to separate its enterprise business from its traditional computer and printing unit this year. Investors will look for details on the split and the impact of a strong dollar through the rest of 2015. Department store operator Macy's Inc is likely to report a holiday shopping quarter profit above analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. Comparable-store sales rose 2 for the owner of the upmarket Bloomingdale's chain. When the company reports fourth-quarter results, investors will look out for how much discounting was a factor for attracting customers and impact from the West Coast port disruptions. The U.S. Conference Board, an industry group, is scheduled to release its index of consumer attitudes. The consumer confidence is likely to have fallen to 99.6 in February, compared with a jump to 102.9 in January. (1000/1500) Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's releases its S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index for December. (0900/1400) Separately, financial data firm Markit issues preliminary reading of its composite and services Purchasing Managers Index for February. (0945/1445) Continental Resources Inc, the North Dakota oil producer founded by Harold Hamm, is expected to report a drop in fourth-quarter profit, as the company contends with tumbling crude prices. Largest U.S. luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the housing market recovery as its customers were less affected by a rise in mortgage rates and higher home prices that hit demand at D.R. Horton Inc, PulteGroup Inc and Lennar Corp. Toll said in December it was optimistic about housing demand going into 2015, given improving economic indicators. When Toll Brothers announces first-quarter results, investors will be looking for company's expectations for the spring selling season after a tepid sale for the industry last year. Bank of Montreal will kick off the first-quarter reporting season for Canada's major banks. The country's No. 4 lender is expected to report a slight increase in earnings per share from a year earlier. But investors will be watching closely for indications of how sluggish economic growth and a sharp fall in oil prices are affecting personal and commercial lending and profits at its capital markets arm. No. 2 U.S. office supplies retailer Office Depot Inc, which is being bought by larger rival Staples Inc in a $6.3 billion deal, will report fourth-quarter results. The focus will be on management's updates on its talks with the Federal Trade Commission, which could approve or block the deal that merges the top two players in the office supply industry. Investors will also keep an eye out for holiday sales in its largest market, North America, which have been sluggish for quite some time now. SunPower Corp, the second-largest U.S. solar panel maker, is expected to report a lower fourth-quarter profit, hurt by uneven revenue recognition from its solar projects. The company is ramping up cell and panel manufacturing capacity to bolster its irregular revenue stream. The company, majority-owned by French energy giant Total SA, is also cutting costs, and in November, announced layoffs. Investors will want to know if the company will spin off some of its power plants. SunPower has been reviewing the formation of a dividend-paying "yieldco" for months. Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc is expected to report fourth-quarter revenue below analysts' estimate, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, hurt by weak box-office showing of its most recent movie "Penguins of Madagascar". In January, the studio said it would cut 500 jobs and produce two feature films a year, instead of three. The studio is betting on its March release - "Home". Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz will give a speech on "Lessons New and Old: Reinventing Central Banking", followed by a press conference at his alma mater in London, Ontario. Poloz shocked markets with an unexpected interest rate cut in January and investors will be watching for indications of whether the central bank will ease further at its next scheduled interest rate announcement on March 4. (1400/1900) The U.S. regulator Federal Deposit Insurance Corp issues overview of fourth-quarter banking industry earnings. Mexico's inflation data for the first half of February will show whether the rate, which cooled to a nearly four-year low of 3.07 percent in January, will remain close to the Central Bank's 3 percent target. (0900/1400) Separately, Argentina's government is due to release January trade balance data. (1400/1900) (Compiled by Sourav Bose in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian)
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