THE WEEK AHEAD

Woolworths, Whitehaven, Virgin and more keep the earnings season in full swing, while Aussie capex and private sector data are due.

Earnings results will once again steal the limelight this week, as the February season moves towards its conclusion.

Companies due to report this week include Woolworths, Harvey Norman, Virgin Australia, Whitehaven and Macmahon Holdings.

Macmahon will also hold an extraordinary general meeting where shareholders will vote on a proposed transaction with Leighton Holdings.

Local news will be dominated by the release of capital expenditure data from the December quarter, while private sector credit figures are also due.

Overseas, the latest GDP data figures are anticipated out of China and the United States. The HSBC Manufacturing purchasing managers index is also coming from China.

Elsewhere, United States Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will speak before the US Senate Banking Committee in Washington.

Reserve Bank

Only private sector credit data is out from the Reserve Bank of Australia this week, but analysts will continue to rifle through the slew of local data for clues as to whether the central bank will move on interest rates at its March meeting next week.

The data is due Thursday, with analysts expecting the figures to show a slight 0.2 per cent rise.

Local news

The week in local news sees a number of releases from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Tuesday we'll see balance of payments data for the December quarter.

On Wednesday, we'll get construction work completed for the December quarter.

Thursday, it's capital expenditure figures for the December quarter. Analysts are tipping a 4 per cent lift in fourth quarter business investment.

Elsewhere, the Housing Industry Association is due to release its new home sales figures for January.

Friday we'll see the Australian Industry Group's performance of manufacturing index for February.

Corporate

Financial results will once again dominate company news, with the fourth week of earnings season set to feature reports from big names including Harvey Norman, Whitehaven and Woolworths.

On Monday, interim earnings reports are due from Globe International and PPK Group, while Caltex Australia and QBE Insurance hand down their full-year results.

Caltex is forecast to lift its net adjusted income by 79.7 per cent to $474.28 million, while analysts expect QBE to post a net adjusted income of $1.204 billion.

Elsewhere, Bluescope Steel will trade ex-dividend.

Tuesday sees interim results from Whitehaven, Virgin Australia, Charter Hall Group, Aquila Resources, IMF (Australia) and Flight Centre, while Oil Search will hand down its full-year report.

Bloomberg analysts expect Whitehaven to post a net adjusted loss of $20.5 million.

Meanwhile, Macmahon Holdings will hold an extraordinary general meeting to vote on Leighton Holdings’ proposed acquisition of its construction assets.

Wednesday will bring full-year results from Sydney Airport, ROC Oil and Chinese-owned Yancoal, and we'll also see interim results from Gunns, AGL Energy and Wotif.com.

Tatts Group will trade ex-dividend.

Thursday is the busiest day of the week, with results coming from the likes of Woolworths, Harvey Norman, Macmahon and Discovery Metals.

Woolworths will unveil its interim results, with Bloomberg analysts forecasting an adjusted net profit of $1.26 billion from the supermarket giant.

Harvey Norman will hand down its half-year results, with Bloomberg predicting a modest fall in net adjusted profit to $108.66 million from the retailer.

Macmahon Holdings, Challenger Financial Services, Perpetual, Treasury Wine Estates and Discovery Metals will also release their interim results.

On Friday, Allied Healthcare, Oakajee and Cokal post interim results.

Elsewhere, BHP Billiton and Santos will trade ex-dividend.

Offshore

Monday we'll see the Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing business index for February in the United States, as well as nationwide housing prices for February in Great Britain.

In China, the flash HSBC manufacturing PMI for February is due.

On Tuesday, the housing sector will take centre stage in the US. New home sales data and the housing price index for January will arrive, along with the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices for December. US Consumer confidence is also due, with economists expecting the index to come in at around 59.3.

New Zealand is also reporting on its trade balance, as well as imports and exports for January. Japan will unveil its retail trade figures for January.

On Wednesday, the latest reads on business and consumer confidence are coming from Europe, while pending home sales are due from the United States.

Thursday will see fourth quarter GDP data from the United States, along with initial jobless claims. Economists are tipping the economic growth figures will show an upward revision from -0.1 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Fourth quarter GDP data is also anticipated from China.

On Friday, the US will deliver its PMI manufacturing index and motor vehicle sales for February.

In the European Union, the consumer price index for February and the Markit manufacturing PMI for the month are due, while the Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI is also out.

Wrapping up

Monday will see Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhard speak on the economic outlook in Knoxville, Tennessee.

On Tuesday, Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Guy Debelle talks at a breakfast at the University of Adelaide Business School.

Wednesday will see a string of well-known figures, both political and business-related, address the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia economic and political overview in Brisbane. Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, ANZ Chief Economist Warren Hogan and AWU National Secretary Paul Howes are among them.

Head of Economics and Sustainability at AGL Energy Tim Nelson will also speak at a separate CEDA forum on energy prices in Hobart.

Chief executive of Billabong International Laura Inman will address the Gold Coast Business Leaders' Luncheon, while chief economist at BT Financial Group, Dr Chris Caton, speaks at the Leaders' Edge Luncheon in Brisbane.

On Thursday, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans will discuss the economy at a CFA Society of Iowa event in Des Moines, while Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher addresses the economic outlook at Columbia University in New York.

On Friday, Julie Collins, federal minister for the status of women, delivers the keynote address to the CEDA Economic and Political Overview in Tasmania.

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