THE WEEK AHEAD

With earnings season in full swing, National Australian Bank, Fairfax, Crown and BHP Billiton headline a full basket of financial reports.

It’s all about earnings this week, as the August reporting season powers into its busiest single period.

Among the headline reporters will be the likes of BHP Billiton, Fortescue, Fairfax, National Australia Bank, Crown and Echo Entertainment.

On the local front, the release of the minutes of the Reserve Bank’s August meeting will be of most interest, while new vehicle sales data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics will also be worth a look.

Offshore, there’s a slew of data on the US housing sector with the latest reads on new and existing sales, as well as the minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve meeting.

In China, the latest read on the nation’s manufacturing sector will be released.

Reserve Bank

There's just one release out the Reserve Bank of Australia this week, but it will be a crucial one for investors hungry for clues on its easing plans for the rest of the year.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank will release the minutes of its August board meeting. At the meeting, the central bank decided to lower the official cash rate to 2.5 per cent, but the accompanying statement offered little in the way of new information. This release will be closely watched for signs of further easing bias, as well as any comments on the inflation outlook following the release of its quarterly statement on monetary policy.

Local data

It’s a quiet week on the local data front as corporate earnings take centre stage in the busiest week of the reporting season.

On Monday, the ABS will deliver the July read on new vehicle sales.

Wednesday will see the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations skilled vacancy report released.

Offshore

American property data dominates a relatively subdued week for global data.

On Wednesday, the conference board of China will release its leading economic index for July.

Thursday delivers existing home sales for July out of the US, with Bloomberg expecting a modest 0.4 per cent lift.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee’s most recent meeting will also be released. Investors will closely scrutinise the minutes for any hints of the Federal Reserve’s planned tapering of stimulus measures.

In China, the HSBC/Markit flash manufacturing PMI will be out. The same index will also be released for the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

On Friday, the US house price index for June will be released.

Markit will also deliver its preliminary US PMI figures.

Later on Friday come July new home sales figures for the US, with Bloomberg expecting 1.4 per cent decline.

Corporate

Earnings season hits its peak this week, as investors await the latest updates from BHP Billiton, ANZ Bank, Fortescue Metals and Fairfax.

Monday sees full-year earnings from Amcor, Aurizon, Bendigo Bank, BlueScope Steel, Challenger and Dexus.

Tuesday delivers headline releases from BHP Billiton (full-year report), NAB (third-quarter update) and Oil Search (first-half earnings).

Full-year numbers are also due from Ansell, Arrium, Cardno, CFS Retail, Hills Holdings, Macmahon Holdings, Monadelphous, nib and Sonic.

First-half earnings are expected from Coca-Cola Amatil and QBE.

On Wednesday, first-half results for Woodside and Seek are due, alongside full-year earnings for Asciano, APA Group and Webjet.

Adelaide Brighton, Bisalloy, Boral, Charter Hall Retail, FKP Property Group, iiNet, Suncorp and Slater & Gordon will also release full-year results. 

Thursday presents as the biggest single day of the reporting season with full-year results due from Fairfax, Fortescue, ASX, Echo Entertainment and Tatts.

First-half numbers are set for release from Alumina and PanAust.

Full-year earnings are also due from Ardent, Brambles, Brookfield, Cabcharge, Envestra, Fantastic, IAG, Noni B, Origin Energy, Pacific Brands, The Reject Shop, Seven West Media, Sydney Airport, Tatts, Toll Holdings, Treasury Wine Estates and Treasury Group.

On Friday, full-year results from Crown, Mirvac, Lend Lease and Transpacific will be of most interest.

The latest earnings from Breville, Cash Converters, Iluka, Mount Gibson, Sims Metal, Tassal, Telecom and Village Roadshow will also be released.

Wrapping up

On Tuesday Mark Burgess, chief executive officer of the Future Fund, will address a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia function in Sydney.

Wednesday will see Grey Egerton-Warburton, head of corporate finance with Hartleys, speak at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia business briefing in Perth.

In Sydney, Sydney Swans chairman Richard Colless, chief executive officer Andrew Ireland and coach John Longmire will deliver an address entitled "Sustaining a Championship Culture: The Swans Business Model" at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle function.

On Thursday, Amar Barua, chief financial officer of GE Mining and Michael Murphy, executive general manager of Flight Centre, will take part in an Australian Institute of Company Directors Luncheon in Brisbane.

Friday will see former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former Liberal leader Dr John Hewson address a CEDA discussion in Western Australia on the setting of public policy.