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The Week Ahead: US jobs; eurozone inflation; Broadcom, HP results

The key economic event to watch this week is the release on Friday of the US jobs report for May. The closely watched non-farm payrolls (NFPs) print will provide an insight in to the strength of the country’s labour market, potentially offering clues as to the likelihood of another Fed rate rise in June. Before that, Thursday brings the flash reading of euro area inflation in May. And as earnings season winds down, look out for the latest results from HP, Broadcom and GameStop. 

Our top three economic and company events in order of importance are:

1. US non-farm payrolls (May) – Friday

The resilience of the US economy continues to manifest itself in the jobs data. The economy added 253,000 jobs in April according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, smashing expectations of 185,000 non-farm payrolls (NFPs) and exceeding the downwardly revised March figure of 165,000. 

Consensus-busting figures are nothing new. Since the beginning of 2022, NFPs have beaten predictions every month except March 2022 as economists have consistently underestimated the strength of the labour market. 

The last jobs report also showed that the unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in April, while average hourly earnings grew 4.4% year-on-year. Vacancy rates remained high, with over 9.5m positions open. That said, this figure has declined by more than 2m from the peaks of March last year. The labour force participation rate remained stable at 62.6%, its highest level since before the pandemic and new jobless claims remained low.

Payrolls processing firm ADP also paints a solid picture of the US jobs market. Its latest report showed that private employers added 296,000 jobs in April. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report for May is expected to show that 180,000 jobs were added while the unemployment rate edged up to 3.5%.

2. Euro area flash CPI (May) – Thursday 

The fall in energy prices over recent months has sent headline inflation in Europe sharply lower. Having peaked at 10.6% in October, euro area inflation, as measured by its consumer price index (CPI), eased to 6.9% in March. It then ticked back up to 7% in April. 

The core rate of inflation, which strips out energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices, hit a record high of 5.7% in March, before slipping to 5.6% in April. 

The persistence of high inflation in the currency bloc presents a problem for the European Central Bank. Its governing council is split on the question of how many more rate hikes may be needed to tame inflation. The chatter from central bank officials has been very hawkish of late, with talk of raising rates by half a percentage point in June. 

However, few economists believe the ECB will continue to raise rates if the US Federal Reserve holds off on a rate rise in June. The upcoming flash CPI reading for May could make the ECB’ s life more difficult if price growth is shown to have accelerated. That could raise the prospect that rates may have to go higher or stay at current levels for longer.

3. Broadcom Q2 results – Thursday

Broadcom, which recently agreed a multibillion-dollar deal to supply US-made 5G components to Apple, has performed well of late. Revenue last year was $33.2 billion, up 21% year-on-year, while non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $40.71. 

In addition to its strong financial performance, Broadcom is also returning significant sums to shareholders. In Q4, the company repurchased 2.7m shares for $1.5bn, lifting the number of shares repurchased last year to 10.6m, at a cost of $6.1bn. 

Shares of the chip maker, up 27% year-to-date, hit new record highs this month amid investor optimism that strong demand for its variety of end markets – including hyperscale data centres – will continue. 

In Q1 revenue rose to $8.91bn, while profit increased to $10.33 a share. For Q2, revenue is expected to dip from Q1 levels to $8.72bn, with profit falling slightly to $10.16 a share. 

More key events

Our calendar of selected upcoming economic and company announcements:

MONDAY 29 MAY

UK and US markets closed for the spring bank holiday and Memorial Day, respectively

TUESDAY 30 MAY

HP Q2 results

The HP share price has recovered since the full-year results in November when the PC and hardware manufacturer announced 6,000 job cuts over the next three years due to a slowdown in the PC and laptops market. HP hasn’t been alone in this regard, with Dell also announcing similar reductions in headcount. 

Revenues have been in decline over the last few quarters, with weak PC demand very much a headwind. In its last fiscal year, revenue was $62.98bn, and consensus estimates for this year point to a decline to $55.2bn. 

In Q4 revenue came in at $14.8bn, and in Q1 it fell sequentially to $13.8bn. Profit in Q1 came in slightly ahead of expectations at $0.75 a share. For Q2, although profit is expected to remain steady at $0.76 a share, revenues are expected to drop to $13.04bn, down from $16.49bn a year ago, with computers and notebooks the main drag. 

That said, HP maintained its full-year guidance for adjusted earnings per share of between $3.20 and $3.60.  

WEDNESDAY 31 MAY

UK mortgage approvals (April) 

Mortgage approvals have picked up in recent months. The number of approvals hit a low of 39,600 in January as the sharp rise in interest rates at the end of last year weighed on demand for property. However, as mortgage rates have stabilised of late, demand for mortgages has started to pick up again, with 52,000 approvals in March.

Net consumer credit has also started to improve after similar weakness at the end of last year. With inflationary pressures starting to subside, we could see this trend continue in the coming months, as long as energy prices remain at their current levels and the Bank of England signals that it is close to being done with rate rises.

B&M European Value Retail full-year results

Discount retailer B&M has seen its share price rebound after last year’s slump. Having hit two-and-a-half year lows of just under 300p in late September and early October, the shares are now trading at almost 500p. The gains have been driven by a high inflationary environment that favours discount retailers. 

In January B&M reported a strong pre-Christmas quarter, with Q3 revenue rising 12.3%. The company upgraded its full-year group adjusted EBITDA to between £560m to £580m. The retailer also announced a special dividend of 20p per share to be paid on 3 February. 

The full-year results are expected to show revenue of £4.96bn, up from £4.67bn in 2022, although pre-tax profits are expected to fall to £463m. 

Salesforce Q1 results

Salesforce shares have been on a slow road to recovery since December, when they hit their lowest levels since March 2020. So far this year, the stock has soared almost 60% to around $215. In March, the cloud-based software company’s better-than-expected Q4 results and upbeat outlook helped boost the Dow, of which Salesforce became a constituent in 2020. Revenue in Q4 rose 14% to $8.38bn, while profit doubled to $1 68 a share. 

The outlook for Q1 was for revenue to come in at $8.16bn to $8.18bn, and profit to be worth $1.60 a share. Annual revenue is expected to rise to at least $34.5bn, a decent increase from 2023’s $31.35bn. Revenue growth is predicted to be driven by increased demand for cloud computing services. 

THURSDAY 1 JUNE

Euro area flash CPI (May); Broadcom Q2 results

See our top three events, above

Manufacturing PMIs (May) 

This month’s flash purchasing managers indices (PMI) readings showed that manufacturing activity in France and Germany remained weak. In the latter, activity deteriorated to its lowest levels since June 2020, when economies were reeling from the effects of pandemic lockdowns. We also found out that the German economy was in recession as Q1 GDP was revised lower to a contraction of 0.3%. 

The UK and the US, on the other hand, saw a modest pickup in economic activity. Nevertheless, it is clear that manufacturing globally is in a difficult place. The signs are there in data coming out of China, as well as in falling prices for copper and iron ore, suggesting that global demand is weakening sharply. 

In Italy and Spain, too, manufacturing activity is expected to show further weakness when their latest PMIs are released later this week.

Dr Martens full-year results

When Dr Martens launched its IPO in January 2021 at 370p the shares initially pushed higher on optimism that this iconic brand would go from strength to strength. This optimism didn’t last and since then the shares have been on a slow, steady decline, culminating in another profits warning earlier this year which saw the shares hit a record low of 127p. The company cited supply chain issues in its US operation which could reduce wholesale revenues by £15m-£25m, and EBITDA by around £20m. 

Revenue in Q3 fell shy of company expectations, coming in at £335.9m. Full-year revenue is expected to have risen to £1bn, a respectable improvement on last year’s £908m, while net profits are forecast to come in at £140m, down from £181.2m last year. The company says it expects to see EBITDA in the region of between £250m and £260m, below estimates of £285m. 

GameStop Q1 results

GameStop shares surged out of the blocks this year, hitting a three-month high in March when they reported a surprise Q4 profit of $0.16 a share, the first quarterly profit in two years. Revenue in Q4 came in at $2.23bn, only slightly down year-on-year, helped by a strong performance from collectibles and hardware sales. Annual revenue was also modestly lower than a year earlier, coming in at $5.93bn. It is important to note that profit got a $4.5m boost from the sale of some digital assets. 

The company offered no guidance as management look to turn around a business that has been ailing for several years. Bosses have been successful in cutting costs as well as withdrawing from non-core markets, though they have been hampered by the partnership with failed crypto exchange FTX, as well as experimenting with NFTs just as the bottom fell out of that market. For Q1 revenue is forecast to fall to $1.34bn, with losses of $0.17 a share.

FRIDAY 2 JUNE

US non-farm payrolls (May) 

See our top three events, above

INDEX DIVIDEND SCHEDULE

Dividend payments from an index's constituent shares can affect your trading account. View this week's index dividend schedule.

SELECTED COMPANY RESULTS

MONDAY 29 MAY  
UK and US markets closed  
TUESDAY 30 MAY RESULTS
Box (US) Q1
Hollywood Bowl Group (UK) Half-year
HP (US) Q2
Oxford BioDynamics (UK) Half-year
WEDNESDAY 31 MAY RESULTS
B&M European Value Retail (UK) Full-year
Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) Full-year
Capri Holdings (US) Q4
Chewy (US) Q1
Crowdstrike Holdings (US) Q1
Impax Asset Management Group (UK) Half-year
Ithaca Energy (UK) Q1
NetApp (US) Q4
Nordstrom (US) Q1
Salesforce (US) Q1
Veeva Systems (US) Q1
Victoria's Secret & Co (US) Q1
THURSDAY 1 JUNE RESULTS
Auto Trader Group (UK) Full-year
Broadcom (US) Q2
Dell Technologies (US) Q1
Dollar General (US) Q1
Dr Martens (UK) Full-year
GameStop (US) Q1
Hormel Foods (US) Q2
Macy's (US) Q1
Pennon Group (UK) Full-year
VMware (US) Q1
FRIDAY 2 JUNE  
No major scheduled announcements  

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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