View our top six stories to look out for this week (2-6 October), plus our key company earnings schedule.

The week ahead: US non-farm payrolls & European politics

Our chief market analyst, Michael Hewson, takes a look at the aftermath of the Catalan referendum at a time of heightened uncertainty for European politics, as well as this week's US employment report.

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Might manufacturing data point to an economic slowdown?
Monday: Recent economic data from Europe, the US and Asia suggests that economic activity remains robust, however, there is some evidence that this rebound could be starting to slow. This week’s data drop from key global economic areas could reinforce that perception, possibly taking the edge off central bank tightening expectations as we head towards year end. 

Will AUD strength affect the RBA’s rate decision?
Tuesday: The recent run of positive data has raised expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will increase rates early next year, although the timing is tricky given the sharp rise in the Australian dollar over the last few weeks. If it continues to rise, this could affect the RBA’s decision, as they won’t want a currency that is too strong, potentially slowing down the Australian economy. This means it’s unlikely the bank will follow recent decisions by the Bank of Canada and US Federal Reserve, and could temper expectations of any imminent move.

Can the services sector continue to perform?
Wednesday: Service sector activity globally has been far less patchy than that seen in manufacturing, helped by a fairly muted inflation rate in Europe especially. The recent oil price rise however, could introduce an element of price inflation that might act as a brake on economic activity as we approach 2018. 

Will it be sour grapes for Tesco’s shareholders?
Wednesday: Earlier this year Tesco reported its first year of sales growth since 2010, having taken on the likes of Aldi and Lidl with its own budget range. Since then the share price has struggled over concerns about profitability in a competitive area. With Amazon taking steps into the sector, as well as investor concerns about the Booker deal, which has since been referred to the competition watchdog, there is a worry that this problem will only get worse. We could get a progress update with the company’s first-half results.

Could Pepsico’s results be a sweet treat?
Wednesday: Higher sales in its North America business and the sale of its stake in Britvic earlier this year saw Pepsico post an increase in profit. While revenues have remained solid, it’s clear that volumes have levelled off due to higher pricing. The introduction of healthier food and snack ranges has helped, with low sugar and low salt products selling at a premium, and now accounting for 45% of company sales. In light of recent declines in the share price, the trading update will need to surprise to prevent further losses from this summer’s record highs.

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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 2 OctoberResults
Baillie Gifford Japan Trust (UK)Full-year
Cal-Maine Foods (US)Q1
James Halstead (UK)Full-year
Tuesday 3 OctoberResults
AZZ (US)Q2
IDT (US)Q4
Lennar (US)Q3
Paychex (US)Q1
Wednesday 4 OctoberResults
Acuity Brands (US)Q4
Lamb Weston Holdings (US)Q1
Monsanto (US)Q4
PepsiCo (US)Q3
Resources Connection (US)Q1
RPM International (US)Q1
Tesco (UK)Half-year
Thursday 5 OctoberResults
Constellation Brands (US)Q2
Costco Wholesale (US)Q4
DFS Furniture (UK)Full-year
Helen of Troy (US)Q2
International Speedway (US)Q3
Yum China Holdings (US)Q3
Friday 6 OctoberResults
No major US or UK companies reporting 

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

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