View our top six stories to look out for this week (16-20 October), plus our key company earnings schedule.

The week ahead: UK data, Catalonia standoff and China economy

Our Chief Market Analyst, Michael Hewson, looks ahead to the latest UK data and Bank of England policymakers' statements. He also analyses the latest developments for China's economy and discusses the next steps in the Catalonia-Spain standoff.

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Might Netflix Q3 announcement be one to watch?
Monday: At its last earnings update, Netflix announced a record rise in subscriber numbers, adding 5.2m users globally and taking total users above 100m for the first time. While this user growth is impressive, more money is being spent to generate these numbers. Budgets for original shows have increased to $6bn and could increase further, which is likely to erode profit margins unless prices go up. Management seem to have realised this, raising prices for US and UK subscribers earlier this month.

What will the latest US banks' results reveal?
Tuesday: A major factor in recent updates from US banks was that lower volatility was hitting revenue growth in investment banking operations. It seems this pattern could be repeated as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs report Q3 results, although the recent rebound in yields as markets prepare for a US December rate rise could improve margins.

Could UK wages & CPI data spell a rate rise?
Tuesday & Wednesday: Expectations about a UK rate hike have been growing in recent weeks, and a pickup in wages relative to CPI could further support this case. Concerns about CPI at 3% have prompted unease from the Bank of England about rising prices, and without admitting that last year’s rate increase was a mistake, high numbers this week could cement the case for a rate rise as early as next month.

Will China GDP data please investors?
Thursday: This week's Q3 GDP data is expected to show a slight slowdown in the Chinese economy to 6.8%, while recent retail sales data has suggested that domestic consumption is slowing due to rising inflationary pressures. Industrial production also disappointed in August, slumping to its lowest level this year, so investors will be looking for a pickup in the September numbers. 

Will Unilever satisfy shareholder appetites?
Thursday: The rejection of the bid earlier this year by Kraft-Heinz prompted Unilever management to accelerate its restructuring process and slimline the business. Early indications suggest a vindication of this approach after sales rose by 3.4% in its Q2 update. Investors will also be looking for progress on the sale of the company's £6bn spreads business, announced earlier this year.

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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 16 OctoberResults
Charles Schwab (US)Q3
First Defiance Financial (US)Q3
IDEX (US)Q3
Netflix (US)Q3
Ruby Tuesday (US)Q1
Sonic (US)Q4
Tuesday 17 OctoberResults
ADTRAN (US)Q3
ASOS (UK)Full-year
Bellway (UK)Full-year
CSX (US)Q3
Goldman Sachs Group (US)Q3
Harley-Davidson (US)Q3
Interactive Brokers Group (US)Q3
Johnson & Johnson (US)Q3
Mercantile Bank (US)Q3
Morgan Stanley (US)Q3
Pinnacle Financial Partners (US)Q3
Progressive (US)Q3
Prologis (US)Q3
United Financial Bancorp (US)Q3
UnitedHealth Group (US)Q3
Utilitywise (UK)Full-year
WW Grainger (US)Q3
Wednesday 18 OctoberResults
Alcoa (US)Q3
American Express (US)Q3
eBay (US)Q3
Exponent (US)Q3
M&T Bank (US)Q3
National Bank Holdings (US)Q3
Northern Trust (US)Q3
Softcat (UK)Full-year
Steel Dynamics (US)Q3
U & I Group (UK)Half-year
UniFirst (US)Q4
Union Bankshares (US)Q3
United Continental Holdings (US)Q3
United Rentals (US)Q3
US Bancorp (US)Q3
Valmont Industries (US)Q3
Thursday 19 OctoberResults
Alliance Data Systems (US)Q3
Bank of New York Mellon (US)Q3
First Financial Bancorp (US)Q3
PayPal Holdings (US)Q3
Philip Morris International (US)Q3
Snap-on (US)Q3
Stobart Group (UK)Half-year
Unilever (UK)Q3
Verizon Communications (US)Q3
Friday 20 OctoberResults
Acacia Mining (UK)Q3
Baker Hughes a GE (US)Q3
Euronet Worldwide (US)Q3
General Electric (US)Q3
Honeywell International (US)Q3
ManpowerGroup (US)Q3
Procter & Gamble (US)Q1
SunTrust Banks (US)Q3

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

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