Markets Week Ahead: Iron ore majors to report, as China GDP and Australian jobs data take focus

Markets Week Ahead: Iron ore majors to report, as China GDP and Australian jobs data take focus

The Australian share market is set for a dip at the open of today’s trading session after a weak close for the US stock market last week.

On Friday evening, US banks were sold down heavily on the back of their most-recent quarterly reports, despite posting earnings results that largely beat expectations. This week, two of the big three iron ore miners will deliver their own results, while US earnings season ramps up.


Economic calendar and news

The week ahead is headlined by a change in government administration in the US, with President-elect Joe Biden set to be inaugurated. Last week, he outlined his vision to support the economy, announcing a US$1.9 trillion stimulus plan featuring a higher federal minimum wage, as well as additional direct payments and unemployment benefits for Americans.

In Australia, economists will have their eyes trained on the latest consumer confidence data, and more importantly, employment data from December. Forecasts for the national unemployment rate have varied by some margin amid an expected uptick in the labour market participation rate, however, an overall increase in job numbers is anticipated according to the consensus estimate.

Last but not least, fourth-quarter GDP out of China is expected to all but confirm the country’s V-shaped recovery. Forecasts suggest that the quarter-on-quarter rate may come in at around 3%, while the year-on-year result might nudge 6%.



Major movers

Having achieved a new all-time high last week, and passing Telstra (ASX: TLS) by market cap in the process, Afterpay (ASX: APT) will no doubt see plenty of media attention this week. While the Nasdaq could provide a weak lead for tech stocks heading into the new trading week, Afterpay has continually silenced its critics and bounced off dips in its share price over the last nine months, while also cementing itself as a leader in its industry.

Similarly, BHP (ASX: BHP), which also hit an all-time high last week, will be discussed widely as it delivers its operational review for the half-year ended 31 December, 2020. The report, scheduled to be released on Wednesday morning, will show the effects of an elevated iron ore price, which has supported a rally in iron ore miners over recent months. First, however, Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) will detail its fourth-quarter operations review on Tuesday morning.

With Brazilian miner Vale recording yet another incident last week, this time a shiploader at one of its ports catching on fire, the supply dynamic within the industry is again set to be questioned amid potential export delays.

Elsewhere, Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) and Santos (ASX: STO) will be among those handing down quarterly results, with both companies lined up to publish their figures on Thursday.

In other news, payments terminals business Tyro (ASX: TYR) will be looking to fight back against a short seller report from last week that took aim at the company’s transparency in addressing its terminal outage problem. Merchants have been impacted for over a week, with the slow progress in rectifying the outage seemingly weighing on the patience of shareholders last week. Despite the outage, the company’s weekly trading update this morning showed that transaction values through its network of terminals have still increased against last year’s numbers.

Overseas, the rest of the US bank stocks will release quarterly earnings results. Among these are the big-name trio of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

There will also be earnings reports from the likes of Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Unitedhealth Group (NYSE: UNH), as well as tech players such as Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and IBM (NYSE: IBM).

On this week’s calendar of new listings are two confirmed IPOs. Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX: CHM), a biotechnology company developing a cancer cell therapy drug, will list this morning after raising $35 million at $0.20 per share. It will be followed by Australian Gold and Copper (ASX: AGC), with the junior resources explorer pencilled in for a Wednesday debut on the ASX after securing $10 million in fresh capital.


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