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

Three central banks in focus this week

Michael Hewson looks ahead to the latest European Central Bank, Reserve Bank of Australia and Bank of Canada rate meetings, as well as other key economic data for the week ahead.

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Will services PMIs reveal summer slowdown? 
Tuesday: Recent data suggests little evidence of a summer lull for the economies of Europe, the UK and China, with strong readings so far throughout the summer months. Will August’s data continue the positive trend or reveal signs of a slowdown as businesses eased off for their summer breaks.

Debt concerns to impact RBA rate decision
Tuesday: Recent rebounds in commodity prices have given the Australian dollar a boost, pushing it to two-year highs against the US dollar. This has raised concerns that the currency could slow the country’s economy down. The Reserve Bank of Australia is already worried about high consumer debt levels, and will be reluctant to drive the currency higher by tightening at a time when wage growth remains weak.

US Fed to release August Beige Book 
Wednesday: In its July update, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book hinted that wage pressures were building at both ends of the pay scale, as employers struggled to fill positions, particularly in the manufacturing and construction sectors. This week’s August update will probably show that the economy is ticking along at a moderate pace.

No rate change expected for Canada this month
Wednesday: At its last rate decision the Bank of Canada raised rates by 25 basis points to 0.75%, the first increase in seven years. With the rate of inflation rising, there is speculation that the Bank will move rates again before the end of 2017. However, this week could be too soon for a repeat and there are concerns that the recent move was perhaps a mistake.  

Is Chinese trade suffering under an economic slowdown?
Friday: After a strong start to the year, recent trade data has suggested some slowdown in the Chinese economy. In July imports dropped sharply, indicating slowing domestic demand. Export data also fell short of expectations in July, although this may have been due to the recent rally in the yuan against the US dollar. Will this week’s numbers show July’s slowdown to be a one-off, or part of a wider change?

Kroger’s Q2 earnings unlikely to be fruitful
Friday: Competition in the US food retail sector may increase in the coming months following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Before the Amazon acquisition was announced Kroger had already lowered guidance for this year, and with shares near three-year lows and down 37% year to date, another downgrade could push the share price even lower.

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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

Selected UK & US company earnings schedule

Monday 4 SeptemberResults
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (UK)Full-year
Johnson Service Group (UK)Half-year
Tuesday 5 September Results
Gamma Communications (UK)Half-year
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (US)Q3
IQE (UK)Half-year
Redrow (UK)Full-year
Wednesday 6 SeptemberResults
Barratt Developments (UK)Full-year
HD Supply Holdings (US)Q2
Vectura Group (UK)Half-year
Xaar (UK)Half-year
Thursday 7 SeptemberResults
Ashmore Group (UK)Full-year
Bovis Homes Group (UK)Half-year
Dell Technologies (US)Q2
EnQuest (UK)Half-year
Finisar (US)Q1
Frontier Developments (UK)Full-year
Go-Ahead Group (UK)Full-year
McBride (UK)Full-year
Tribal Group (UK)Half-year
Friday 8 SeptemberResults
Kroger (US)Q2

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

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