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The week ahead: UK Q2 GDP, China trade balance, 21st Century Fox results

Chief Market Analyst Michael Hewson assesses this week's major market events.

See his week ahead video, the top events to watch, plus our key company earnings schedule. Michael looks ahead to the latest UK Q2 GDP numbers after the recent Bank of England rate rise, as well as July's China trade balance against the backdrop of escalating trade tensions.

RBA rate decision
Tuesday: This week’s Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) rate decision is likely to be a fairly routine affair, with no change in policy expected. Inflationary pressures are fairly subdued despite the big jump in import prices in the most recent quarter, which was largely driven by rises in petroleum-based products. With wages looking like they could pick up, the RBA is unlikely to want to rock the boat when there is still evidence of further slack in the Australian labour market. 

Intercontinental Hotels H1 results
Tuesday: At its most recent trading update, Intercontinental Hotels saw operating profits rise 7%, with revenue per room rising 4% in the final quarter of 2017. The company failed to pay a special dividend in February, which caused the share price to drop sharply. However, management felt that investing in a longer-term strategy to address concerns about falling revenue rates was a better use of this cash. As the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator, with brands like Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza, management are embarking on a significant rebranding exercise. The company is investing in new boutique brands called Kimpton and Voco in the UK’s major cities, which are designed to appeal to the younger business traveller via a more personal home-based experience. 

Snap Q2 results 
Tuesday: Since Snap’s IPO last year it’s been a rollercoaster ride for shareholders, with the share price currently languishing some distance below its IPO price. At its last trading update in March, the company missed revenue targets and posted a loss of $0.17c a share, warning that Q2 would probably follow the same trend. Daily active users also fell short of expectations following a controversial redesign, which alienated their core user base. Given Facebook and Twitter have both seen a slowing of active users which caused sharp falls in their share prices, there is a risk of a similar pattern being repeated here, which bodes ill for Snap. Management will be hoping to avoid this situation, or we could see a repeat of more sell-offs in the share price.

China trade balance (July) 
Wednesday: The recent talk of tariffs and decline in the Chinese currency could have significant effects on the trade surplus in July. In the June numbers, the Chinese surplus with the US hit a record high of nearly $29bn. With US tariffs on Chinese goods due to kick in from July, we could see a modest impact on both sides of the ledger. Chinese imports showed signs of slowing in June, however exports did improve, coming in slightly better-than-expected. We should pay particular attention to the export numbers though, as the decline in the yuan could mitigate some of the impact. 

21st Century Fox Q4 results
Wednesday: The long-running saga over 21st Century Fox’s future looks to have been resolved after Comcast pulled out of the running, leaving Disney to complete its $71bn merger subject to regulatory approval. At its most recent update, revenue came in at $7.42bn, slightly ahead of market expectations, with the cable TV segment doing particularly well. The film studios are also expected to post some decent numbers after the recent release of Deadpool 2, which made over $301m worldwide in its first weekend alone.

Cineworld H1 results
Thursday: A strong end to 2017 saw Cineworld increase revenue by 8%, while pre-tax profit increased by 22% to £120.5m, helped by films like Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast and Dunkirk. In this week’s update we’ll get a progress report on how the recent $3.6bn acquisition of Regal Entertainment in the US is progressing. In the period up to the beginning of May this appeared to be going well, with a 10% rise in US revenue, though it was notable that UK revenue fell by 2.1%. This trend may prevail in this week’s trading update, given the hot summer as well as England’s World Cup performance, which may have kept customers away.     

Friday: Following last Thursday’s Bank of England base-rate rise , we’ll get the first snapshot of how the UK economy did during the second quarter later this week. Having performed poorly in Q1, we can expect to see a nice rebound in Q2, driven by the warm weather, a royal wedding, and an unexpectedly good run from England in the World Cup. Expectations are for growth of 0.4%, well above the 0.2% in the first quarter.

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Index dividend schedule

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Selected UK & US company announcements

Monday 6 August Results
Cabot (US) Q3
Cardinal Health (US) Q4
Etsy (US) Q2
Hertz Global Holdings (US) Q2
HSBC Holdings (UK) Half-year
Marriott International (US) Q2
Newell Brands (US) Q2
Oasis Petroleum (US) Q2
Playa Hotels & Resorts (US) Q2
SDL (UK) Half-year
Sempra Energy (US) Q2
Solar Capital (US) Q2
Sotheby's (US) Q2
Synthomer (UK) Half-year
Tenet Healthcare (US) Q2
Tyson Foods (US) Q3
Ultra Electronics Holdings (UK) Half-year
Weight Watchers International (US) Q2
Tuesday 7 August Results
3D Systems (US) Q2
Avis Budget Group (US) Q2
Discovery (US) Q2
Domino's Pizza Group (UK) Half-year
Edinburgh Dragon Trust (UK) Half-year
Genel Energy (UK) Half-year
GW Pharmaceuticals (UK) Q3
Hargreaves Lansdown (UK) Full-year
Host Hotels & Resorts (US) Q2
InterContinental Hotels (UK) Half-year
Intertek Group (UK) Half-year
Lifetime Brands (US) Q2
Meggitt (UK) Half-year
Office Depot (US) Q2
Pendragon (UK) Half-year
Radius Health (US) Q2
Rotork (UK) Half-year
Saga Communications (US) Q2
Snap (US) Q2
Sotherly Hotels (US) Q2
Standard Life Aberdeen (UK) Half-year
Standard Life Investment (UK) Half-year
TP ICAP (UK) Half-year
Walt Disney (US) Q3
Wendy's (US) Q2
Wednesday 8 August Results
Amplify Energy (US) Q2
Avnet (US) Q4
CenturyLink (US) Q2
Choice Hotels International (US) Q2
CVS Health (US) Q2
Hastings Group Holdings (UK) Half-year
Hill & Smith Holdings (UK) Half-year
Horizon Pharma (US) Q2
Kelly Services (US) Q2
Liberty Media (US) Q2
Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings (US) Q2
Morgan Sindall Group (UK) Half-year
New York Times (US) Q2
Pagegroup (UK) Half-year
Prudential (UK) Half-year
Secure Trust Bank (UK) Half-year
Starwood Property Trust (US) Q2
Stock Spirits Group (UK) Half-year
TiVo (US) Q2
TT Electronics (UK) Half-year
Yelp (US) Q2
Thursday 9 August Results
Cineworld Group (UK) Half-year
Coca-Cola European Partners (UK) Q2 
G4S (UK) Half-year
Ibstock (UK) Half-year
Legal & General Group (UK) Half-year
Nomad Foods (UK) Half-year
Savills (UK) Half-year
Tritax Big Box REIT (UK) Half-year
Friday 10 August Results
Derwent London (UK) Half-year
Vitec Group (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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