THE WEEK AHEAD

The week ahead brings fewer company reports, but an array of important local and overseas data, including Australian GDP figures and retail data, will keep the market on its toes.

The week ahead sees the petering out of the flood of company earnings results, and in the coming days, local economic data will be back in the limelight. Major companies to report interim and full-year results will include Lihir Gold and Infigen Energy. On the economic data front there's figures on GDP, retail trade and building approvals. There will be a key speech from Reserve Bank of Australia's assistant governor Guy Debelle, and ASIC chairman Tony D'Aloisio will give a business address. Overseas, the eurozone will have its own GDP reading as well as the ECB decision on interest rates, and then manufacturing and employment data will emerge from the US.

RBA

On Tuesday, the RBA's Guy Debelle will deliver a speech at the "Risk Australia 2010 Conference” in Sydney. Also on Tuesday, the central bank will release its figures on private sector credit for July. And Wednesday brings the RBA Commodity Index for August, which is considered an early indicator of export price changes.

Local data

Kicking off economic data for the week will be the release of June business indicators by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. These include profit and sales inventories for the June quarter. Economists estimate that profits rose by 12 per cent in the quarter. Also on Monday, HIA new home sales figures for July are due out.

Tuesday brings a hefty load of economic data from the ABS, headed up by the current account balance for the June quarter. Economists say the reading will include foreign debt estimates, and at present gives no cause for concern.

There will also be retail trade figures for July, with forecasts that spending has risen by only 0.5 per cent over the past five months, while economists say building approvals are experiencing a downward trend, having fallen in five of the past six months.

Then the Australian Industry Group will release its performance of manufacturing index for August. The measure currently sits at a bullish 54.4 points.

On Wednesday, the ABS will reveal the all-important second quarter GDP figures, and along with it, further details on the state of Australia's national accounts. Economists expect that the economy probably grew by 1.1 per cent in the quarter, and 3 per cent over the year.

On Thursday, data on international trade in goods and services for July will be released by the ABS. Economists note that last month the trade surplus hit record highs. And the AiG performance of services index for August is due out.

Corporate

The coming days bring the last burst of earnings season, with the release of results concentrated around Monday and Tuesday.

Infigen Energy will report its full year earnings on Monday, and analysts see an increase in reported NPAT to $193.3 million, turning around from a $27.9 million loss last year.

Then, Macquarie Atlas Roads Group, which was created through the restructuring of Macquarie Infrastructure Group, will issue its half-year results, which are expected to be about $94.3 million NPAT (proportionate cash earnings.)

Tuesday sees Lihir Gold release its interim result, and analysts are expecting adjusted NPAT of $US73.6 million, after the company reported a $US300.9 million loss for the half to June 30 last year, based on an impairment charge in relation to the closure of its Ballarat operation.

Avoca Resources will provide its full year report, and after last year’s reported net loss of $16.27 million, analysts are tipping a much improved ball-park result of $58.4 million to $69.14 million.

International

Overseas on Monday, it’s all about confidence in the European Union, with measures of consumer confidence, economic confidence and industrial confidence for the month of August scheduled for release. Meanwhile, in the US, personal income figures for July are expected to show that both incomes and spending have lifted by 0.3 per cent.

On Tuesday in the US, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for June is scheduled, along with the Chicago Purchasing Managers’ index for August. The US ISM manufacturing index for August is expected to ease to 53.3 from 55.5. In other international happenings, Germany, Europe’s largest economy, will release its unemployment rate for August.

On Wednesday, the UK will release its purchasing manager index of manufacturing for August.

Overseas on Thursday, the European Union will also release its second quarter GDP figures, as well as the producer price index for July. The ECB decision on interest rates is also due on Thursday, with the struggling region expected to retain its one per cent setting for some time to come.

On Friday in the US, employment and unemployment figures for August are tipped to show a modest 44,000 lift in private payrolls.

Rounding off

On Tuesday South Australian Premier Mike Rann will deliver a key note address on South Australia’s leadership within a carbon constrained economy at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Also speaking at a CEDA function on Tuesday, Rio Tinto Australasia vice president of people and organization support Rick Briant will give a talk in Brisbane about Queensland’s workforce futures.

On Wednesday, the chief of IAG unit NRMA Insurance, Andy Cornish, will give an address to the Trans Tasman Business Circle in Sydney.

On Thursday, CEDA will hold its federal election post-mortem/new government preview in Perth (to as full-an extent as possible with no clear resolution to the hung parliament yet). The discussion panel will include politicians and media figures based in Western Australia.

On a similar theme in Sydney, CEDA will host "The COAG Reform Agenda – how are governments performing?” with speakers including COAG Reform Council chairman Paul McClintock.

On Friday, the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia will host ASIC chairman Tony D’Aloisio at a business briefing in Melbourne.

Then, City of Melbourne chief executive officer Kathy Alexander will give an address for the TTBC.