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Week ahead: Peloton suitors line up, focus on ASX financial services

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SPI futures are down 0.6%, indicating a drop at the open on the S&P/ASX 200 on Monday. The New Zealand Stock Exchange is closed today for a public holiday. The Australian dollar has weakened to US70.76c from US71.49c late on Friday.

The Australian share market ended a three-week losing streak on Friday, with local shares closing higher, after a savage mid-week sell-off on Wall Street. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.9%, to 7120.2, supported by a 0.6%, gain on Friday.

ASX earnings season

This week the focus will be on financial services companies on the ASX as earnings season builds in Australia. Macquarie Group has an operational update on Tuesday 8 February. Commonwealth Bank is scheduled to report half-year results on Wednesday 9 February. National Australia Bank will provide a trading update on Thursday 10 February.

In its quarterly update released on Monday, banking group ANZ said it was considering increasing the size of the current on-market buy-back. It reported softer trading conditions in October for its markets business, which will likely impact its first-half performance.

Australian retail trade data is out on Monday and several business and consumer confidence reports are due as the RBA ends its bond-buying program on Thursday, after upgrading inflation and employment outlooks.

China, Japan

Chinese shares could post mild early gains after a week-long holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng China Enterprises Index jumped nearly 3% on Friday in its first session after the Lunar New Year break.

Japan releases household spending figures on Tuesday.

US markets

In the US, after a week of giant swings in tech stock prices, investors will be keenly watching Twitter and Uber for any signs of slowing growth as they report earnings.

Peloton suitors will be interested in the leisure company’s earnings on Tuesday, with Amazon and Nike being touted as potential buyers. Peloton shares surged more than 40% in after-hours trading on Friday.

A steady gain in hiring in the US last month puts the Federal Reserve on track to lift interest rates next month and perhaps again in May and June. Employers added 467,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4%. It had fallen to 3.9% in December from 5.9% last June, a historically rapid drop. Revisions to hiring figures for 2021 showed employers added 709,000 more jobs in November and December compared with figures compiled by the Labor Department last month. US CPI data is scheduled for release on Thursday.

Commodities

Crude oil prices continue higher, with analysts forecasting further gains in the short term as China replenishes inventories after the Lunar New Year break. OPEC+ producers are struggling to keep pace with their pledges to boost output. Brent crude oil is trading at $US93.41 a barrel, WTI is at $US92.28.

Bitcoin is above $40,000, gold is at $US1807.77 an ounce, with expectations of gains as buyers pile in to take advantage of a safe haven hedge against increasing inflation and US Fed rate hikes.

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