THE WEEK AHEAD

The minutes of the RBA's latest board meeting will enthuse local markets, while US GDP data should guide offshore moves.

The week before Christmas brings a steady stream of economic indicators, with the financial world showing little sign of slowing as the year draws to a close.

Dominating the local agenda will be the release of the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest board meeting, where it moved to cut rates for the second consecutive month. In company news, Dulux Group, Elders and Incited Pivot will hold annual general meetings, while Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes will speak at a corporate function in Queensland.

Offshore, third quarter gross domestic product data is due in the US, along with jobless claims data and the housing market index. Third quarter GDP data is also set for release in the United Kingdom.

RBA

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of its December policy meeting, where it moved to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent.

The cut, the second consecutive move by the central bank, saw praise for the RBA from business and retail groups approaching the busy Christmas period.

Investors will be watching carefully for any factors which pushed the board members into making their decision, and any indication on the future direction of rates.

Local news

A lack of content from the Australian Bureau of Statistics leaves the local data calendar rather bare in the week ahead.

Monday sees international merchandise imports data for November released by the ABS, while third quarter population growth data will also be released.

On Tuesday, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index is due.

Corporate news

Company news is similarly light, with Monday bringing an annual general meeting from Dulux Group.

Agricultural groups dominate Tuesday, with Elders and Incited Pivot meeting their respective shareholders.

On Thursday, Australian Property Group and Map go ex-dividend.

Overseas

Offshore, Monday sees the release of the NAHB housing market index for December in the US.

On Tuesday, US housing starts data is due for November, along with building permits figures for the month. Analysts are tipping housing starts to have risen 0.3 per cent in the month, while permits are expected to have eased 1.8 per cent.

Wednesday brings US existing home sales data for November, as well as the weekly Energy Information Administration petroleum status report. Experts expect home sales to have lifted by 2.4 per cent in November.

Thursday brings highly anticipated US gross domestic product data for the third quarter. Jobless claims figures are also on tap, along with the Reuters/Michigan consumer sentiment index for December.

In the United Kingdom, third quarter GDP data is set for release.

Friday brings October new home sales data and durable goods order figures in the US, as well as personal income and outlays data for November. Economists are expecting durable goods to have improved 2 per cent in the month, while spending is tipped to have risen 0.4 per cent. New home sales are thought to have gained 1.8 per cent.

Wrapping up

Rounding off the week, Myer chief executive officer Bernie Brookes will be the guest speaker at an Australian Institute of Company Directors function in Mackay.

Richmond Federal Reserve president Jeffery Lacker will speak at an economic outlook conference in the US on Monday.