THE WEEK AHEAD

Results from Alesco, ResMed and GUD Holdings begin the lead-in to the official earnings season, while December quarter CPI is on tap.

The week ahead brings a number of important economic indicators, dominated by highly-anticipated local consumer inflation data.

An otherwise thin local week will force investors offshore for action. In the United States, existing home sales data and performance of manufacturing figures will be released.

Elsewhere, gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter will come out in the United Kingdom.

A huge week in company news brings the first hints of the upcoming February earnings season locally, in the form of interim results from Alesco Corporation, ResMed and GUD Holdings.

Quarterly production reports are also due from mining giants BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group.

And finally tech giants Microsoft, Apple and Google will release results, as the fourth-quarter earnings season continues in the US.

Local news

A fairly slow week in local news brings just a few events, including one that is sure to attract the attention of investors.

Tuesday sees Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release their latest leading index of economic activity.

On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its consumer price index for the three months to December.

Analysts are tipping the data to show consumer prices rose by 0.5 per cent in the quarter, lifting the headline annual rate to 2.6 per cent. The underlying rate is expected to have lifted 0.7 per cent in the period, leaving the annual underlying rate 2.4 per cent higher than last year.

Corporate news

A massive week in company news brings a number of big days on the corporate calendar.

On Monday, Mirabella Nickel will release full-year earnings results, while Queensland Mining Corporation is due to hold an extraordinary general meeting.

Tuesday brings an EGM from Centro Retail Australia, where shareholders will vote on a proposal to change the name of the company.

In the United States, fourth-quarter earnings results are due to be released by Delta Air Lines, Johnson & Johnson and tech giants Google.

On Wednesday, BHP Billiton will release its latest quarterly production report.

Offshore, Apple and McDonalds are due to report data.

Thursday brings quarterly production figures from Fortescue Metals Group, PanAust and OZ Minerals.

GUD Holdings will release earnings figures for the first half.

In the US, fourth-quarter production figures are due from Microsoft Corporation.

Friday brings first-half earnings figures from Alesco Corporation and ResMed Inc.

Macquarie analysts are expecting ResMed to post a net profit of $145.5 million.

Offshore

In overseas news, important figures are awaited in the United States, Europe and China.

Markets in the US are closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr Day.

On Tuesday, existing home sales data for the month of December will be handed down in the US, along with the Richmond Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index for January.

Economists expect the data to show home sales rose 1.2 per cent in the period, taking the total growth for the year to 5.1 million.

In the United Kingdom, December figures on public sector net borrowing are due.

Wednesday brings the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage applications data in the US.

In the UK, average earnings data and ILO unemployment figures for November are on tap, along with European Union consumer confidence for December.

Elsewhere, the Conference Board of China will release its leading economic index for December.

Thursday brings US jobless claims figures, and manufacturing PMI data for January.

Elsewhere, the Weekly Energy Information Association’s petroleum status report is due.

In Europe, Markit will put out both its manufacturing and services PMI indexes for January.

EU current account balance numbers for November are also awaited.

In the UK, the British Bankers Association will release its December set of mortgage approvals.

Elsewhere, HSBC will release its January manufacturing PMI in China.

Friday brings new home sales data for December in the US. Analysts are tipping the data will show a 2 per cent jump in sales.

In the UK, highly anticipated gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter is on tap.

Wrapping up

Rounding off the week, the three-day World Economic Forum begins in Davos on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund is due to release an update to its world economic outlook.

European Union commissioner Marco Buti and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan are due to address the European Policy Centre.

Elsewhere, the Bank of England will make the minutes of its last policy meeting available to the public.

And finally, the European Central Bank will hold a non-rate setting governing council meeting on Thursday.

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