Week Ahead: Walmart and Home Depot Earnings, UK April Jobless Claims, May PMIs

Week Ahead

We may be reaching the tail end of earnings season, but there are still some eagerly awaited releases lined up this week. Highlights will be reports from Walmart and Home Depot; stock in these companies has seen strong bid even as the wider market has tanked. 

We also have the FOMC minutes, a host of PMIs, and jobless claims data from the UK for April. Here’s your full breakdown of the coming events you need to know about. 

Japan Q1 GDP estimate 

Preliminary Q1 GDP data for Japan is due early on Monday, but as with all Q1 growth data it will serve as the prelude to something much worse. The economy is expected to have contracted -1.2% on the quarter, after a -1.8% decline in the final three months of 2019. Annualised growth is expected to print at -4.6%, again a slowdown from the -7.1% drop recorded in 2019 Q4. 

Forecasts for Q2 expect a 22% decline, the worst since the end of the Second World War. Will the Q1 figures give us any indication of how accurate those estimates might be, or will markets ignore the data and wait for more clarity? 

How many UK jobs have been lost in lockdown? 

The UK reports jobless claims data for April, when the workforce suffered an entire month of lockdown. The number of people filing jobless claims grew by over 12,000 in March: April’s figure is likely to print around 650,000. Unemployment rate figures are also scheduled, but these cover March and so are extremely backwards-looking by this point. A little later on Tuesday morning, the Labour Productivity Index for the first quarter is expected to print at -2.6%. 

UK inflation set to collapse 

April UK inflation data will feel the impact of collapsing retail sales, shuttered businesses, climbing unemployment and furloughed workers. Annualised price growth is expected to slump from 1.5% in May to 0.2% last month, with prices predicted to shrink -0.7% on the month after stagnating in April. The core inflation rate is predicted to drop to 1% on an annualised basis and -0.3% on the month. The contraction in producer prices is predicted to have accelerated to -3.9% on the year, and to have doubled to -0.4% on the month. 

High hopes for Walmart, Home Depot earnings 

Markets think Walmart and Home Depot are well-positioned to weather the coronavirus pandemic. Both stocks are over 4% higher year-to-date at the time of writing, compared to a -13% drop for the S&P 500. Walmart actually hit record highs at the end of April. 

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Walmart saw a 20% increase in sales during March alone. Markets clearly expect a lot from the leading retailers, but can Walmart and Home Depot deliver? 

Both Walmart and Home Depot have “Strong Buy” ratings according to our Analyst Recommendations tool. Walmart has an average price target of $132.79 which represents a 7% upside on prices at the time of writing. Home Depot has a target price of $238.15, a 4% upside. 

Lowe’s, Target, and Best Buy are amongst the other companies reporting this week. 

FOMC meeting minutes 

We already know a lot more about the current thinking of the Federal Reserve thanks to last week’s speech from chair Jerome Powell. The minutes of the meeting at the end of April could be moot: Powell’s speech gave away what would likely have been the headlines from the minutes, namely that it was likely more stimulus would be necessary, but negative interest rates are not something being considered at this time. 

Eurozone economic sentiment set to go negative again 

April’s ZEW Economic Sentiment surveys for the Eurozone and Germany unexpectedly leapt back into positive territory. Assessment of current conditions remained dire, but investors began to focus on recovery. 

But the reality of the recession that lies between where we are now and where we’re trying to get back to is expected to hit sentiment hard again this month, with the German reading forecast to plummet back to -14 and the Eurozone wide reading dropping to -10. 

UK PMIs headed lower, Eurozone set to bounce off lows 

This week we get the flash PMI readings for May. UK manufacturing is expected to drop to 26.6, while the services index will slip to 9. The overall composite PMI is expected to drop from 13.8 to 9.2. 

Manufacturing and services in the Eurozone and its member states, however, are expected to rebound from their lows as economies began relaxing lockdown measures. Germany’s manufacturing index is predicted to jump around 10 points to 45, while services is forecast to more than double to 37 points. Overall the composite index is expected to climb from 17.4 to 40. The Eurozone composite is expected to rise from 13.6 to 34. 

It’s worth remembering that these figures still represent a huge rate of contraction across all areas of the economy. The Eurozone economy may have bounced back from the initial shock of COVID-19, but there is still a long road ahead – and expectations for how long are getting bigger all the time.

Heads-Up on Earnings 

The following companies are set to publish their quarterly earnings reports this week: 

18-May Ryanair – FY 2020
Pre-Market 19-May Walmart – Q1 2021
Pre-Market 19-May Home Depot – Q1 2020
19-May Imperial Brands – Q2 2020
Pre-Market 20-May Lowe’s – Q1 2020
Pre-Market 20-May Target Corp – Q1 2020
Pre-Market 20-May Analog Devices – Q2 2020
20-May Experian – FY 2020
Pre-Market 21-May Medtronic – Q4 2020
Pre-Market 21-May Best Buy – Q1 2021
After-Market 21-May Intuit – Q3 2020
After-Market 21-May Ross Stores – Q1 2020
After-Market 21-May Agilent Technologies – Q2 2020
After-Market 21-May Hewlett Packard Enterprise – Q2 2020
After-Market 21-May NVIDIA – Q1 2021
22-May Deere & Co – Q2 2020

Highlights on XRay this Week 

17.00 UTC   18-May  Blonde Markets
18.00 UTC  18-May   The Ten Rules of Trading
 15.30 UTC 19-May   Weekly Gold Forecast
 18.00 UTC 19-May Reading Candlestick Charts: Trading Patterns and Trends
11.00 UTC  20-May Midweek Lunch Wrap

Key Economic Events

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week:

23.50 UTC 17-May Japan Preliminary Quarterly GDP
01.30 UTC 19-May RBA Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
06.00 UTC 19-May UK Claimant Count Change / Unemployment Rate
09.00 UTC 19-May Germany / Eurozone ZEW Economic Sentiment
06.00 UTC 20-May UK Inflation
12.30 UTC 20-May Canada Inflation
14.30 UTC 20-May US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
18.00 UTC 20-May FOMC Meeting Minutes
07.15 – 08.00 UTC 21-May FR, DE, Eurozone Flash Services and Manufacturing PMIs
08.30 UTC 21-May UK Flash Manufacturing and Services PMIs
12.30 UTC 21-May US Jobless Claims
13.45 UTC 21-May US Flash Manufacturing and Services PMIs
22.45 UTC 21-May New Zealand Quarterly Retail Sales
06.00 UTC 22-May UK Retail Sales
12.30 UTC 22-May Canada Core Retail Sales

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