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The Week Ahead: US retail sales; UK CPI; Netflix earnings

Welcome to Michael Kramer’s pick of the top three market events to look out for in the week ahead. 

For traders, the focus this coming week will shift from macroeconomic data to company earnings. US retail sales will kick things off on Monday, followed by the UK’s consumer price index (CPI) on Wednesday. Then on Thursday financial newswires will likely be abuzz with hot takes on Netflix’s first-quarter earnings, with American Express and Procter & Gamble set to report on Friday. Also reporting their latest results in the coming days are Goldman Sachs (Monday), Bank of America and Morgan Stanley (both Tuesday). 

US March retail sales

Monday 15 April: As the market continues to absorb Wednesday’s mildly alarming US inflation report, which showed that CPI rose more than expected in March, the upcoming retail sales numbers are likely to be critical to rates, especially at the front of the curve. 

US retail sales are expected to have risen by 0.4% month-on-month in March, slowing from February's increase of 0.6%, while retail sales excluding autos are seen rising by 0.5%, up from 0.3%. Retail sales excluding both autos and gas are expected to rise by 0.3%, in line with February. 

A hotter-than-expected retail sales report could send the US two-year Treasury yield – which jumped more than 20 basis points post-CPI to 4.95% – even higher, potentially back to the 5.05% to 5.1% region. 

UK March CPI

Wednesday 17 April: The UK inflation report for March will be key in determining the pound’s direction of travel against the US dollar. In February, UK CPI rose 3.4% year-on-year, easing from 4% in January, while core CPI – which excludes volatile items like food and energy – rose by 4.5% year-on-year, down from 5.1%. Although services inflation remained elevated at 6.1%, it eased from 6.5% in January. 

The figures show a clear downward path for UK inflation, with February’s headline CPI reading coming in below market expectations of 3.5%. Now, consensus estimates for March put inflation at about 3.1%. Another lower-than-expected reading could result in market repricing, with investors currently expecting two Bank of England interest rate cuts in 2024.

In the near term, the March CPI print is likely to have an impact on the pound versus the US dollar. Currently, GBP/USD is holding on to support by a thin margin. If UK CPI comes in lower than expected on Wednesday, that would likely be bearish for the pound. A break of support at the $1.25 level could open the door for a drop to around $1.23.

Netflix Q1 earnings

Thursday 18 April: Netflix will be one of the first major US companies to report results this earnings season, with its latest numbers set to be released after the market closes on Thursday. For the first quarter, analysts estimate that the company earned $4.51 per share on revenue of $9.26bn. Analysts also anticipate the company added 4.6 million net streaming subscribers during the quarter. The subscriber growth figures will be crucial, shaping investors’ response to the results. The company’s guidance on subscriber numbers for the second quarter and 2024 as a whole will also carry significant weight. At present, analysts estimate that Netflix will add 3.8 million subscribers in Q2 and 20.2 million in 2024. 

The market expects Netflix stock, which closed at $628.78 a share on Thursday, to move by 8% following the Q1 results, which is roughly in line with expectations for the previous quarter. An 8% implied move means the stock could rise to around $680 or fall as low as $565. At $680, resistance dates back to the 2022 highs, while a drop to $565 would allow the stock to fill a gap from 14 February. Indeed, momentum in the stock has slowed, and the shares have plateaued at around $620 to $630. There is a broken uptrend in the stock, with what appears to be a rising wedge pattern, suggesting that the shares might move towards the lower end of the expected trading range. Still, the Q1 results and accompanying commentary will ultimately determine much of the price movement.

Key economic and company events

Here’s our rundown of notable economic announcements and company reports scheduled for the coming week:

Monday

• US: March retail sales
• Results: Ceres Power (FY), Charles Schwab (Q1), Goldman Sachs (Q1)

Tuesday

• Canada: March consumer price index (CPI)
• China: Q1 gross domestic product; March industrial production, retail sales
• Japan: March imports and exports 
• New Zealand: Q1 CPI
• UK: February unemployment rate, average earnings; Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s speech to the International Monetary Fund
• US: March industrial production
• Results: Bank of America (Q1), Johnson & Johnson (Q1), Morgan Stanley (Q1), UnitedHealth (Q1) 

Wednesday

• Eurozone: March harmonised CPI
• UK: March CPI
• Results: Abbott Laboratories (Q1), Prologis (Q1)

Thursday

• Australia: March unemployment rate
• Japan: March CPI
• US: Weekly initial jobless claims (to 12 April)
• Results: Blackstone (Q1), Netflix (Q1)

Friday

• Germany: March producer price index
• UK: March retail sales
• Results: American Express (Q1), Procter & Gamble (Q3)

Note: While we check all dates carefully to ensure that they are correct at the time of writing, the above announcements are subject to change.

Index dividend schedule

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

 


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