View our top six stories to look out for this week (23-27 October), plus our key company earnings schedule.

ECB policy in focus as Catalonia risks rise

Our Chief Market Analyst, Michael Hewson, looks at the recent record highs in various global markets, and asks whether commodity prices are giving indications of a top. He also looks ahead to the latest ECB rate meeting, UK and US Q3 GDP numbers, as well as major UK banks’ numbers, including RBS.

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Will the Bank of Canada surprise again?
Wednesday: At its last meeting, the Bank of Canada surprised markets by raising rates for the second time in succession, when it was expected they would move at this month’s meeting. The Canadian economy has broadly been performing well, and with the oil price recovering, GDP growth has been positive. The currency has slipped recently over concerns about ongoing NAFTA negotiations and US belligerence over its renegotiation. In light of this, rates are expected to remain on hold.

How will major UK banks perform in Q3?
Wednesday-Friday: It’s a big week for UK banks as three of the big four set out their latest trading update. At the last update further additional sums were set aside in respect of PPI, but this does seem to be coming to an end. While Lloyds’ (Wed) and Barclays’ (Thu) updates are likely to be fairly positive, RBS (Fri) continues to be beset by the controversial treatment of small businesses in respect of its GRG unit. The bank has set up a £400m compensation fund, but this sum could rise in the coming months. 

Could it be prime time for Amazon?
Thursday: Last week’s Netflix results suggested that the demand for online content has remained robust in the latest quarter. Heavy investment in content seems to be paying off, and Amazon’s Q3 results are expected to show a similar outcome with respect to their Prime offering. Unlike Netflix, Amazon hasn’t raised its prices to help offset additional costs, though given its more diverse business model it may not need to. 

Is it as easy as ABC for Alphabet?
Thursday: At its last earnings update, Google owner Alphabet saw revenues rise 21%, with mobile profit making up the bulk of that gain. Video content also helped drive profit on the YouTube channel, while cloud revenue from Google Play rose 42%. It’s clear that streaming content is a big earner for most participants in this space, and it’s likely to continue to subsidise the ‘moonshot’ side of the business. 

Will there be calm after the storm for the US economy?
Friday: The recent transatlantic hurricane season has hit sections of the US economy quite hard, which is likely to act as a temporary brake on economic activity in the short term. Recent ISM surveys suggest that this should be manageable, and while jobs growth has slowed in the past month or so, this is expected to be a temporary lull. The headline third-quarter number isn’t expected to change too much from the Q2 figure of 3.1%.

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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 23 OctoberResults
Halliburton (US)Q3
Hasbro (US)Q3
Kimberly-Clark (US)Q3
Seagate Technology (US)Q1
Tuesday 24 OctoberResults
3M (US)Q3
Advanced Micro Devices (US)Q3
AT&T (US)Q3
Caterpillar (US)Q3
General Motors (US)Q3
Juniper Networks (US)Q3
Lockheed Martin (US)Q3
McDonald's (US)Q3
United Technologies (US)Q3
Whitbread (UK)Half-year
Wednesday 25 OctoberResults
Boeing (US)Q3
Citrix Systems (US)Q3
Coca-Cola (US)Q3
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (US)Q3 
Freeport-McMoRan (US)Q3
GlaxoSmithKline (UK)Q3
Lakeland Financial (US)Q3
Lear (US)Q3
Lloyds Banking Group (UK)Q3
Metro Bank (UK)Q3
Morningstar (US)Q3
Nasdaq (US)Q3
Silicon Laboratories (US)Q3
Visa (US)Q4
Thursday 26 OctoberResults
Alphabet (US)Q3
Amazon.com (US)Q3
American Airlines Group (US)Q3
Barclays (UK)Q3
CME Group (US)Q3
Connect Group (UK)Full-year
Debenhams (UK)Full-year
Dunkin' Brands Group (US)Q3
Expedia (US)Q3
Ford Motor (US)Q3
Hershey (US)Q3
Hilton Worldwide Holdings (US)Q3
Intel (US)Q3
Invesco (US)Q3
Microsoft (US)Q1
Mohawk Industries (US)Q3
Pinnacle Foods (US)Q3
Redefine International (UK)Full-year
S&P Global (US)Q3
Santander (UK)Q3
Sun Bancorp (US)Q3
Twitter (US)Q3
United Parcel Service (US)Q3
Western Digital (US)Q1
Xerox (US)Q3
Friday 27 OctoberResults
International Consolidated Airlines (UK)Q3
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK)Q3

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

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