On Tuesday the UK will publish employment data for May, with the figures on pay growth set to support the view that Britain is caught in a wage-price spiral. Over in the US, a fresh consumer price index (CPI) reading, out on Wednesday, is likely to show that inflation continued to ease in the year to June. Meanwhile, major US banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will announce their second-quarter results on Friday.
Our top three economic and company events are:
1. UK average earnings, unemployment (May) – Tuesday
The UK’s last set of earnings data underscored the challenge facing the Bank of England as it battles to tame stubbornly high inflation. Pay excluding bonuses surged 7.2% year-on-year in the three months to April, up from 6.8% in the three months to March, as the pace of pay growth reached a record high outside of the pandemic. The data sent UK two-year gilt yields above the peaks they hit last October in the wake of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget.
In May, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey acknowledged that the UK economy was suffering from a wage-price spiral, in which higher wages lead to higher prices. The Bank’s failure to act early enough to tackle inflation is partly to blame. Short-term yields have continued to rise in anticipation of further interest rate rises from the Bank in the coming months. If the earnings numbers for May remain “sticky”, the central bank may find it has no good options in its bid to bring inflation under control.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in April, down from 3.9% in March as the labour market remained tight. One month earlier, the employment rate had risen to a record 76%, up from 75.9% in February, as high food price inflation played a role in driving people back into work.
2. US CPI (June) – Wednesday
US consumer price inflation appears to be heading in the right direction. Price growth slid to a two-year low of 4% in May, down from 4.9% in April and well below the June 2022 peak of 9.1%. Meanwhile, core CPI, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, also continued to ease, slipping to 5.3% in May from 5.5% a month earlier.
The hawkish Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates again on 26 July, irrespective of what the upcoming CPI reading shows. However, the data might help determine whether the Fed will gear up for another rate hike in September.
Economists expect that headline CPI cooled to 3.1% in the year to June, while core CPI is expected to come in at 5%.
3. JPMorgan Chase Q2 results – Friday
Although the US banking sector was rocked by turmoil in March, the bigger US banks appeared to emerge unscathed, largely due to the perception that bigger means safer. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank saw JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, gain $50bn in new deposits as it took over SVB’s deposit base.
The turmoil in rates markets also proved to be a boon as JPMorgan saw revenue surge to $39.3bn in Q1. A better-than-expected performance from its fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) division contributed $5.7bn. Meanwhile, net interest income, the difference between what JPMorgan earns on loans and what it pays on deposits, soared 49% to $20.8bn, driven by the rise in rates. Net interest margin rose to 2.63%, well above the consensus estimate of 2.39%. Total deposits grew to $2.38tn. However, in a sign of concern about the US economy, the bank increased its provisions for bad debt by $1.1bn.
Despite the recent uncertainty, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon painted an upbeat outlook, saying that consumer spending “remained healthy”. The bank raised its full-year outlook for net interest income from $73bn to $81bn, with Dimon saying that he expects inflation to remain higher for longer, which could weigh on the economic outlook. The shares have seen solid gains since the Q1 numbers were released, pushing up to their highest levels since February 2022.
Revenue for Q2 is expected to come in at $39.6bn, while profits are forecast to come in at $3.76 a share.
More key events
Our calendar of selected upcoming economic and company announcements:
MONDAY 10 JULY
No major scheduled events
TUESDAY 11 JULY
UK average earnings unemployment (May)
See our top three events, above
WEDNESDAY 12 JULY
US CPI (June)
See our top three events, above
Bank of Canada interest rate decision
Having signalled a pause to rate hikes in January, the Bank of Canada surprised markets in June by raising rates by 25 basis points to 4.75%. The decision followed a similar move by Australia’s central bank a few days before amid concerns over persistent inflation.
The Bank of Canada also tweaked its guidance, giving policymakers the flexibility to raise rates again if needed. Wednesday’s decision is likely to take into account the business outlook, which in Q2 fell to its lowest levels since Q3 2020. That said, unemployment remains low and core inflation slowed to 3.9% in May from 4.3% in April.
THURSDAY 13 JULY
China trade balance (June)
We’ve seen a slow improvement in China’s trade numbers over the course of the last few months. However, the rebound has been somewhat lacklustre, and recently faltered on weak domestic demand and concerns over global demand.
These concerns were reflected in the May numbers. Exports from China decreased 7.5% year-on-year in May, the first contraction for three months. Imports to the country were also disappointing, shrinking 4.5% year-on-year.
The slowdown may prompt the Chinese authorities to do more to support the economy. We have seen some minor measures such as small rate reductions, but with factory gate inflation falling sharply and recent purchasing managers’ index (PMI) readings looking weak, the outlook for the Chinese economy remains uncertain.
FRIDAY 14 JULY
JPMorgan Chase Q2 results
See our top three events, above
Citigroup Q2 results
Like its peers Citigroup comfortably passed the Federal Reserve’s latest stress tests, though the Fed has changed the way investment bank operations have to value trading desk exposures and other operational risks. In response to the tests Citigroup’s board said it would be looking to increase its dividend to $0.53 a share, even as its minimum capital requirement ratio increases to 12.3%.
Since Citigroup published a solid set of Q1 results, the bank’s shares have struggled to make gains. This may be partly because the bank set aside $2bn – slightly more than expected – to cover potential losses from bad loans, taking some of the gloss off the earnings report. Revenue in Q1 rose 12% to $21.45bn, while profit came in at $1.86 a share, with the rates and trading business helping to boost the numbers to the tune of $4.45bn. On the flip-side, the equities business underperformed. For Q2, revenue is forecast to come in at $19.61bn, with profit at $1.44 a share.
Wells Fargo Q2 results
Wells Fargo shares have had an indifferent quarter after the bank posted a solid set of Q1 numbers. Revenue came in at $20.73bn, an increase of $3bn from the same period last year. Profit came in at $1.23 a share. However, the bank set aside another $643m to cover potential credit losses, $379m of which is down to (CRE) commercial real estate. Net interest margin rose more than expected, coming in at 3.2%. On the loan side of the ledger, it was notable that total average loans came in below consensus forecasts, but this is perhaps not surprising for a bank that has a big mortgage presence. Revenue in Q2 is expected to come in at $20.1bn, and profit is forecast to be around $1.21 a share.
Burberry Q1 results
When Burberry reported its full-year numbers back in May, the shares were already falling from the record highs they reached in April. That April spike came as its peers in the luxury goods sector posted record Q1 sales, driven by demand in Japan and China. However, once it became apparent that the China recovery story was running out of steam, a lot of the froth came out of luxury brands’ share prices. Shares of British luxury fashion house Burberry, which is perhaps best known for its trench coats lined with the distinctive ‘Burberry check’, have fallen over 20% from the record high of 2,656p that they set in April.
Will the Q1 results help to stem the recent share price declines? Possibly, though much will depend on performance in China. Burberry’s full-year revenue jumped 10% to £3.1bn, with same-store sales rising 7%. Strong performance in Q4 was spurred by China’s economic reopening as Covid restrictions there were lifted, helping to lift mainland sales by 13%. The major disappointment for Burberry came from the Americas, which recorded a 7% decline in Q4 sales.
Looking ahead to 2024, management kept their guidance unchanged. At the time, this seemed somewhat surprising given the strong rebound in China, but perhaps bosses realised that the Chinese recovery could prove unsustainable. If so, their concerns will only have increased in recent weeks. Revenue in Q1 is forecast to come in at £632m.
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SELECTED COMPANY RESULTS
|MONDAY 10 JULY
|Helen of Troy (US)
|VOXX International (US)
|WD-40 Co (US)
|TUESDAY 11 JULY
|Begbies Traynor Group (UK)
|Byrna Technologies (US)
|D4t4 Solutions (UK)
|WEDNESDAY 12 JULY
|ME Group International (UK)
|Ocean Power Technologies (US)
|THURSDAY 13 JULY
|Conagra Brands (US)
|Progressive Corp (US)
|Watches of Switzerland Group (UK)
|FRIDAY 14 JULY
|Burberry Group (UK)
|JPMorgan Chase (US)
|State Street (US)
|UnitedHealth Group (US)
|Unity Bancorp (US)
|Wells Fargo (US)
Note: While we check all dates carefully to ensure that they are correct at the time of writing, company announcements are subject to change.
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