What to Watch in the Day Ahead - Thursday, April 16
(The Day Ahead is an email and PDF publication that includes the day's major stories and events, analyses and other features. To receive The Day Ahead, Eikon users can register at . Thomson One users can register at RT/DAY/US. All times in ET/GMT) Citigroup Inc, the most international of the big New York-based banks, reports first-quarter results, and Thomson Reuters StarMine data is predicting a small beat. Earlier last month, CFO John Gerspach said that the bank's revenue from fixed-income and equity markets is expected to decline in the quarter, largely because of a slow start in spread products and a hit during the January revaluation of the Swiss currency. He projected a "mid-to-high" single-digit percentage fall in revenue from that business. Citi expects revenue in the interest rates and currencies portion of the business to be higher than a year earlier. Goldman Sachs Group Inc is expected to report a rise in first-quarter profit, helped by a pickup in trading activity. Goldman is more dependent on trading revenue than its peers because it has a less diverse business. Investors will be interested to know more about the trading environment and what the company expects for the rest of the year. UnitedHealth Group Inc will report slightly better-than-expected first-quarter profit as the largest U.S. health insurer adds new customers in government-paid plans. UnitedHealth, which agreed to buy pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran for about $13 billion in late March, had said it priced its plans for 2015 to account for more use of medical services, as enrollments increase and concerns for insurers go up over covering an older and sicker population of policy holders. American Express Co's first-quarter results are expected to be in line with estimates, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. The world's biggest credit card issuer's growth depends mostly on its affluent customers - people who have been pretty consistent with their spending. AmEx also raised interest rates for a large number of its cards in February for the first time in five years. AmEx, which will cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, said its earnings would suffer in the near future after failing to renew deal with Costco Wholesale Corp. U.S. housing starts likely bounced back in March after a slump in the prior month that was pinned on harsh winter weather. The Commerce Department is expected report that groundbreaking for new homes picked up to a 1.04 million-unit rate in March from an 897,000-unit rate in February. March Building permits, however, is expected to have slipped. (0830/1230) Separately, the Labor Department issues weekly jobless claims data. (0830/1230) Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issues its Business Outlook Survey for April. (1000/1400) Schlumberger Ltd, the world's No.1 oilfield services provider, is expected to report a lower first-quarter profit as weak oil prices weigh on drilling activity. Schlumberger has warned of lower prices for its services in North America due to declining rig count. Investors will look for comments on the company's international operations, which account for two-thirds of its revenue. The company has said it expects industry wide spending on exploration and production to drop by 10 to 15 percent in 2015. Investors will also look for details on cost-cutting efforts. The company has already slashed 9,000 jobs in January in response to weak oil prices. Schlumberger's Russian operations are also of interest. Despite recently imposed Western sanctions, the company said in January it plans to buy a 45.65 percent stake in Eurasia Drilling, Russia's most active oilfield services company. BlackRock Inc, the world's largest asset manager, posts first-quarter earnings. The company is expected to report strong inflows into its ETFs and mutual funds, primarily on the fixed income side. Toymaker Mattel Inc will report first-quarter results. The company, struggling with falling demand of its Barbie dolls and Fisher-Price preschool toys, this month said interim Chief Executive Christopher Sinclair will take up the job permanently. This move, analysts said, will help drive a turnaround at Mattel after it lost out to smaller rivals Hasbro Inc and Jakks Pacific Inc in the latest holiday quarter. Mattel in January abruptly fired Bryan Stockton as CEO after the company reported its fifth straight fall in worldwide quarterly sales. It has reportedly laid off 107 employees at its El Segundo headquarters this month. Investors will be looking for comments from the new CEO on his revival plans for the company, product launches and cost saving initiatives. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc is expected to report lower first-quarter revenue as it struggles with weak sales of graphic cards and competition with Intel Corp in a declining PC market. The company, which has been shifting focus to gaming consoles and low-power servers, said it is taking steps to return its computing and graphics businesses to a "healthy trajectory" from the second quarter. Analysts say there is a need for restructuring and realignment in the computing and graphics side of the business. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy before a group of Palm Beach business leaders. (1300/1700) Separately, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy before the Forecasters Club of New York Monthly Meeting. (1310/1710) Also, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren participates in "The U.S. Economic Outlook and Implications for Monetary Policy" event hosted by Chatham House (1330/1730) LIVE CHAT - BANK PROFITS: Breakingviews columnist Antony Currie reviews first-quarter results from the biggest U.S. banks Easy monetary policy and a recovering U.S. economy have been a huge boon for banks. Reuters Breakingviews columnist Antony Currie discusses the performance of U.S. banks and the outlook for financials as the biggest names report quarterly results. To join the Global Markets Forum, click here bit.ly/1kTxdKD Electronic trading firm Virtu Financial Inc's IPO is expected to raise up to $314 million, valuing the company at about $2.6 billion. The company is a market-maker in equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities and earns money through "spreads" - the difference between what buyers and sellers are willing to pay or accept in a trade. Virtu postponed its IPO last year following the release of Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt", which questioned whether markets were rigged in favor of high-frequency traders. Founder Vincent Viola, a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, will control the company after the offering through ownership of all Class D shares, which have more voting power than ordinary shares. Shares of the largest U.S. party goods retailer Party City Holdco Inc are expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company is expected to be valued at nearly $2 billion. The company is backed by buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. The IPO could raise up to $372 million. Thomas H. Lee acquired a majority stake in Party City in a $2.69 billion deal from private equity peers Advent International Corp, Berkshire Partners LLC and Weston Presidio in 2012. Thomas H. Lee currently holds about 69 percent stake, while Advent has about 24 percent interest in the company. The online craft retailer Etsy's initial public offering is expected to raise up to up to $267 million, valuing the company at about $1.8 billion. The company, which offers an online marketplace for unique handmade goods and craft supplies, had 1.4 million sellers and 19.8 million buyers as of December. Etsy charges fee from sellers to list products and earns a commission from each item sold. The company, led by former Yahoo executive Chad Dickerson, said net loss widened to $15.24 million in 2014 from $796,000 a year earlier. Etsy's investors include venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners. Finance ministers and central bankers from around the globe head to Washington for meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer participates in panel, "The Elusive Pursuit of Inflation" before the IMF/World Bank meetings. (1500/1900) Also, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton hold a news conference ahead of the meetings. Separately, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim holds a news conference ahead of the spring meetings to discuss the bank's poverty-fighting efforts. He is also likely to face questions over the cooperation between the bank and the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio speaks before the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College 24th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference on the State of the U.S. and World Economies in Washington. Harvard Business School Senior Fellow Paul Tucker also participates in the conference. Chile's central bank meets to set the interest rate. The rate is expected to remain at 3 percent. (Compiled by Sourav Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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