Markets Week Ahead: Stimulus hopes build again, as US banks report

Markets Week Ahead: Stimulus hopes build again, as US banks report

Following another record close for US markets, the Australian stock market is poised for a small positive start to the new trading week.

Having been a major driver of the local market’s outperformance last week, resources stocks will be on watch over the coming days. Tech stocks in the US could also see some turbulence on the back of political wrangling.

Meanwhile, hopes are high for further fiscal stimulus as President-elect Joe Biden vows to deliver more aid to Americans.


Economic calendar and news

This week’s economic calendar sees a final reading on retail sales from November, where preliminary forecasts had earlier shown growth of 7%. In addition, we’ll also be treated to the final figures on building permits and home loan activity from the same month.

Overseas, the US agenda this week features the latest reading on job openings, inflation, export and import prices, industrial and manufacturing production, retail sales for December and a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

With employment data last week showing a notable contraction in the number of jobs added to the US economy, the matter is likely to be addressed as evidence of the stalling recovery playing out, while also fuelling hopes for more stimulus from the incoming Biden administration.

The topic that may perhaps occupy the headlines most, however, would be any efforts in the week ahead regarding a potential impeachment of President Donald Trump in light of last week’s events surrounding the riots at the Capitol.



Major movers

The iron ore majors each hit a new all-time high last Friday before paring some of their gains for the week. As a result, BHP (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) are still likely to be on the radars of many investors as iron ore prices remain at elevated levels following supply disruptions out of Brazil and resilient demand from China.

This week, coal exporter Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) will hand down its quarterly report. While coal has been one of the sectors facing significant pressure since the start of COVID-19, the company’s share price has been mounting a recovery since early September, meaning this quarter’s results may prove a pivotal moment as to what follows next.

In the US, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) could well find themselves the talk of financial markets circles and with heightened trading volume amid their respective decisions to ban US President Trump from their platforms. It remains to be seen if either company might be subject to any executive order in the President’s final days of office, however, he has hinted at the potential of launching new competition to take it up to the incumbent tech giants.

By the end of the week, major US banks will have delivered their earnings for the fiscal quarter ending December 2020. JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) will be the largest to report, followed by Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C).

The week ahead also sees some large-caps trading at their all-time highs, including Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (NYSE: TSM) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

Locally, beyond the iron ore miners, there are names like Seven Group Holdings (ASX: SVW), Mercury NZ (ASX: MCY), Genesis Energy (ASX: GNE) and Nickel Mines (ASX: NIC) that fall into the same category of recently notching up all-time highs.


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