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The Week Ahead: UK inflation; China GDP; Goldman Sachs, Netflix results

Key economic announcements this week include China’s fourth-quarter GDP and December retail sales, plus the Bank of Japan’s interest rate decision. On Wednesday, attention will focus on the UK’s December inflation print. As earnings season continues in the US, Goldman Sachs and Netflix will reveal their Q4 results, while in the UK trading statements are due from Ocado, Burberry and Deliveroo

KEY ECONOMIC AND COMPANY EVENTS (16-20 JANUARY):

Monday 16 January

No major scheduled announcements

Tuesday 17 January

UK average earnings, unemployment (November)

Although wages have risen in the UK, growth has not kept pace with inflation. Average weekly earnings including bonuses in the UK grew 6.1% year-on-year in the three months to October, up from a 6% increase in the three months to September. Beyond the headline figures, there is considerable regional variation in earnings increases, with some areas of the UK seeing average hourly pay rise by over 20% year-on-year.

Unemployment in the UK rose to 3.7% in the three months to October, up from 3.6% in the previous three-month period. However, the number of payrolled employees rose by 107,000 to a new record high of 29.9m, which should be reflected in the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) upcoming labour force survey. The increase in employee numbers suggests that people are returning to the labour market as they grapple with the rising cost of living and higher bills.

China Q4 GDP, retail sales (December)

In the last two months economic activity in China has collapsed amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Infection levels have spiked since the country lifted lockdown restrictions in early December following a wave of protests against the government’s zero-Covid policy. The spread of the virus appears to be hampering the country’s economic recovery, with consensus estimates suggesting that China’s GDP shrank 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, after a 3.9% expansion in Q3. 

With Chinese New Year set to bring families together in a couple of weeks, infection rates could get worse before they get better. Meanwhile, any recovery in consumer demand in the months ahead is likely to be patchy. Retail sales declined 5.9% year-on-year in November, after falling 0.5% in October – the first negative print since May. Consensus estimates for December indicate that retail sales may have decreased by as much as 8.3%. Growth in industrial production is expected to have slowed to 0.5% year-on-year, down from 2.2% in November.

Ocado Q4 results

Ocado shares fell more than 60% in 2022, hitting a five-year low of 380p in October before rebounding. The announcement of a partnership deal with South Korea’s Lotte Shopping saw the shares spike in November. Lotte Group is one of the biggest conglomerates in South Korea, with annual revenue of around £45bn, of which its shopping arm accounts for about £9.5bn. Ocado will help improve Lotte’s online operations.

In Q3 Ocado’s customer numbers increased 23% to 946,000, while retail revenue came in at £531.5m. The number of average orders per week rose by 10.7% to 374,000. Average basket sizes fell 6% from £123 to £116, as customers traded down to cheaper items. Ocado said that Q4 sales were likely to be affected by energy cost headwinds, which would weigh on profitability.

The group’s joint venture with M&S expects sales to have declined last year, while core earnings are set to come in at about break-even. However, the company has been expanding. Its Bicester fulfilment centre, now fully operational, has added capacity for an extra 30,000 orders a week. This has, however, bumped up costs. 

Goldman Sachs Q4 results

Since hitting a 52-week low of $277.84 in July last year, the Goldman Sachs share price rallied almost 40% to around $390 in November. Although the stock has fallen about 5% from those November levels, rising interest rates and a resilient US economy have helped to underpin the shares. 

However, there are signs that certain areas of the business are struggling as the bank begins a huge round of job cuts following a slowdown in its investment banking division. The layoffs will affect up to 3,200 staff, or about 6.5% of the bank's roughly 49,000 employees. 

In Q3 revenue beat expectations, coming in at $11.98bn, with most areas of the business outperforming. Trading stood out, delivering revenue of $6.2bn, well above forecasts of $5 69bn. Of that figure, roughly $3.5bn came from fixed income, currency and commodities (FICC) sales, which beat forecasts of $3.04bn. Revenue from investment banking – the division likely to see the most job cuts – fell short of expectations at $1.54bn. 

Also in Q3, Goldman set aside $515m to cover potential losses from bad loans. Costs increased during the quarter, while its retail banking business, Marcus, incurred losses of around $1.2bn in 2022. Profits beat expectations in Q3, coming in at $8.25 a share, but are expected to have fallen to $6.05 a share in Q4.

Wednesday 18 January

UK CPI (December)

UK inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), eased to 10.7% in November, after hitting 11.1% in October – its highest level since October 1981. Falling oil and gas prices, and a drop in the producer price index (PPI), have provided further welcome signs that inflation may be past its peak. Mind you, we haven’t had clear visibility on PPI for the past couple of months as the Office for National Statistics reviews its methodology. 

The UK’s CPI reading for December is expected to show that inflation continued to ease, though the headline rate is likely to remain above 10%, driven by food price inflation in the mid-teens. This means that the Bank of England is likely to implement another significant interest rate hike when it meets on 2 February. 

Bank of Japan interest rate decision

The Bank of Japan surprised the market last month as it widened its target band for 10-year yields to 0.5 percentage points above or below zero, up from 0.25 points. The move sent the yen surging, catching the market completely off balance. 

The recent weakening of the US dollar was welcomed by Japan’s central bank as it helped send the yen below the crucial level of ¥150 per dollar. That eased the BoJ’s concerns about where the yen is now. In October Japanese authorities intervened in currency markets to prop up the yen after it fell to a 32-year-low against the dollar.

With current governor Haruhiko Kuroda set to leave his post in April, the Bank of Japan is entering a period of transition. Further changes could be on the way, too, with prime minister Fumio Kishida hinting at possible amendments to the central bank’s mandate. Wednesday’s meeting is therefore likely to be closely watched, though the BoJ recently indicated that it plans to hold off on making further major adjustments to its yield curve controls.

US retail sales (December)

US retail sales declined 0.6% month-on-month in November, missing expectations for a decline of 0.1%. It was the biggest monthly drop since December 2021. The biggest retail sales declines in November were for pricier items, with sales of furniture down 2.6%, cars down 2.3% and electronics down 1.5%. In contrast, sales at food services and drinking places grew 0 9%, marking a fourth successive monthly increase in this area. 

The overall slide in spending suggests that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate rises are starting to bite. Although US retail sales remained robust though most of 2022, cold weather is expected to have contributed to a 0.5% month-on-month decline in retail sales in December.

Burberry Q3 results

Shares in luxury retailer Burberry rose more than 10% in 2022, outperforming the wider fashion market. Although Burberry reported weaker sales in China due to Covid lockdowns, the shares returned to levels last seen in summer 2021 as strong performance in Q2 compensated for a weak Q1. Comparable store sales in Q2 jumped 11%, versus a 1% increase in Q1. 

Half-year sales increased by 5%. Asia Pacific underperformed, with sales there declining 4% in the first half. Same-store sales in mainland China fell 19% during that period, while in the Americas sales declined 3%. Europe, Middle East and India came to the rescue, delivering half-year sales growth of 34%. 

Adjusted operating margin in Q2 improved by 150 basis points to 17.7%, while pre-tax profit increased to £251m, up from £191m a year ago. In Q3 Asia Pacific is again likely to have underperformed, although the Americas could improve on the back of US dollar weakness.

Thursday 19 January

Netflix Q4 results

There was a happy ending for Netflix shares in 2022 as the streaming giant’s stock soared more than 75% after hitting a 52-week low of $162.71 in May. In Q3 the shares received a boost as paid memberships grew by 2.41m, well above expectations of 1m. Total subscribers reached a new record high of 223.09m, with Netflix saying that they expect to have netted a further 4.5m subscribers in Q4, bringing the total to 227.59m in Q4. 

Revenue in Q3 also beat expectations, coming in at $7.93bn versus forecasts of $7.85bn. Profits came in at about $1.4bn, or $3.10 a share. Many viewers were drawn by the fourth series of hit show Stranger Things, which began streaming towards the end of May. Non-English programming continued to act as a big revenue driver too, with revenue from both Asia Pacific and Latin America growing 19%. The APAC region added 1.4m subscribers, while Latin America added 0.3m. 

For Q4, revenue is expected to grow roughly 1.7% to around $7.8bn, with net income likely to fall to $163m, or $0.36 a share. Operating margin is expected to have fallen to 4.2%, down from 8.2% a year ago. Netflix attributes these declines to the strength of the US dollar. A recent letter to shareholders suggests that Netflix doesn’t expect its new ad-supported membership tier, which started on 3 November and appears to have got off to a slow start, to make a material contribution to Q4 revenue. However, the dollar’s recent weakness should buoy revenue somewhat. 

The company also said that it will stop publishing data on subscriber numbers. Instead, they want investors to focus on revenue, operating income, margin and net income.

Deliveroo Q4 results

The Deliveroo share price appears to have found support around the 75p level, but has struggled to break above the November highs of around 104p. That said, there is some optimism that the worst may be over for a stock that has plummeted in value since its IPO in 2021.

In Q3, gross transaction value (GTV) increased 8% year-on-year to £1.7bn. The UK operation outperformed international markets, with UK GTV rising by 11% while international GTV fell 2%. Nevertheless, Deliveroo downgraded its full-year guidance on GTV growth to between 4% and 8% due to concerns about the squeeze on disposable incomes. 

More encouragingly for investors, the food delivery company revised its EBITDA margin upwards to between -1.2% and -1.5% as it made progress on cost reduction by cutting its marketing spend. The company also decided in November to pull out of Australia.

Friday 20 January

No major scheduled announcements

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 16 JANUARY RESULTS
Knights Group (UK) Half-year
TUESDAY 17 JANUARY  RESULTS
Crest Nicholson (UK) Full-year
Goldman Sachs (US) Q4
Morgan Stanley (US) Q4
Ocado (UK) Q4
United Airlines (US) Q4
WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY RESULTS
Alcoa (US) Q4
Burberry (UK) Q3
Gateley (UK) Half-year
Prologis (US) Q4
THURSDAY 19 JANURAY RESULTS
Banc of California (US) Q4
Comerica (US) Q4
Deliveroo (UK) Q4
Ilika (UK) Half-year
M&T Bank (US) Q4
Netflix (US) Q4
FRIDAY 20 JANUARY  RESULTS
Ally Financial (US) Q4
Schlumberger (US) Q4
State Street (US) Q4

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


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