View our top seven stories to look out for this week (4-8 December), plus our key company earnings schedule.

The week ahead: US employment, EU summit & RBA rate decision 

Our Chief Market Analyst, Michael Hewson, looks ahead to a busy week with the EU summit, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Bank of Canada rate decisions, as well as the US employment report on Friday.

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Brexit to take centre stage at EU Summit
Monday: This week’s EU summit should determine whether sufficient progress has been made in Brexit talks over citizens’ rights, the divorce bill and the Irish border, before they can move on to the subject of trade talks. At the moment the Irish border is proving problematic - which is not surprising as it’s trade that is likely to determine the final solution. 

Has the UK economy continued to show resilience?
Monday & Friday: The UK economy has been more resilient than originally forecast, despite lagging behind its continental peers in terms of economic performance. This week’s November PMI surveys are expected to show continued resilience, although construction (Mon) is expected to lag behind. On the other hand, manufacturing (Fri) has proved to be a bright spot, and this week’s October numbers are expected to build on a decent September figure of 0.7%.

Will global services PMIs suggest further growth?
Tuesday: Recent preliminary data has shown that both French and German economic activity has accelerated in Q4, with services activity looking particularly strong. This acceleration is likely to add to speculation that current monetary policy is too easy, and increase calls for the European Central Bank to pull back more quickly. The latest Chinese and US numbers are also expected to suggest solid economic expansion. 

Key rate decisions for Canada and Australia central banks
Tuesday & Wednesday: Both the Bank of Canada (Wed) and Reserve Bank of Australia (Tue) face important interest-rate decisions this week. The Bank of Canada has already raised rates twice this year, and the recent rally in oil prices has also acted as a fillip, so it’s unlikely they will move again. The RBA is also expected to leave rates on hold, with some evidence of weakening economic activity in the Australian economy. 

Is a budget approach paying off for Dollar General?
Thursday: It’s been a tough 2017 for US retail, but nonetheless there have been some winners. The US equivalent to Poundland, Dollar General, has seen its share price perform well this year. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday over, this week’s earnings update will provide the first snapshot of how the US retail sector performed over the Thanksgiving period.

Will the building blocks fall into place for Berkeley Group?
Friday: It’s been a decent year so far for Berkeley Group, with shares over 30% higher despite concerns about a slowdown in the London housing market. At its last earnings update the company reported that construction starts in London were down 30%, but maintained it is on track to deliver pre-tax profit of £3bn over a five-year period, ending in April 2021. The share price was broadly unmoved by the recent budget, which targeted the sector, and there remains some investor disquiet with executive pay. This might return to centre stage if Friday’s update falls short of expectations.

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Index dividend schedule

If you trade indices, dividend payments from an index's constituent shares can result in either a credit or debit to your account. 
View this week's indices dividend drop points table

Monday 4 DecemberResults
Aberdeen Asset Management (UK)Full-year
Tuesday 5 DecemberResults
Aerovironment (US)Q2
AutoZone (US)Q1
Barnes & Noble Education (US)Q2
Consort Medical (UK)Half-year
Dave & Buster's Entertainment (US)Q3
Francesca's Holdings (US)Q3
HD Supply Holdings (US)Q3
HealthEquity (US)Q3
iomart Group (UK)Half-year
JPMorgan Chinese Investment Trust (UK)Q4
Lands' End (US)Q3
Layne Christensen (US)Q3
Liquidity Services (US)Q4
Northgate (UK)Half-year
Oxford Industries (US)Q3
Toll Brothers (US)Q4
Veeva Systems (US)Q3
Victrex (UK)Full-year
Wednesday 6 DecemberResults
American Eagle Outfitters (US)Q3
Analogic (US)Q1
Broadcom (US)Q4
Brown-Forman (US)Q2
Fred's (US)Q3
Greif (US)Q4
H&R Block (US)Q2
John Wiley & Sons (US)Q2
Keysight Technologies (US)Q4
NCI Building Systems (US)Q4
Numis Corp (UK)Full-year
Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings (US)Q3
RWS Holdings (UK)Full-year
Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust (UK)Full-year
Seachange International (US)Q3
Stagecoach Group (UK)Half-year
Tailored Brands (US)Q3
Vera Bradley (US)Q3
Thursday 7 DecemberResults
American Outdoor Brands (US)Q2
Ciena (US)Q4
Clipper Logistics (UK)Half-year
Cooper Cos (US)Q4
Dell Technologies (US)Q3
Dollar General (US)Q3
DS Smith (UK)Half-year
Ferrellgas Partners (US)Q1
Finisar (US)Q2
Hooker Furniture (US)Q3
Lee Enterprises (US)Q4
Liberty Tax (US)Q2
Medley Capital (US)Q4
Science Applications International (US)Q3
Toro (US)Q4 
United Natural Foods (US)Q1
Vail Resorts (US)Q1
Vince Holding (US)Q3
Friday 8 DecemberResults
Berkeley Group Holdings (UK)Half-year

Company announcements are subject to change. All the events listed above were correct at the time of writing.

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