Daily Agenda: The Week Ahead, November 2 – 7, 2015

China and U.S. release key macro data, Herbalife releases earnings; Pennsylvania town celebrates bacon’s sizzle.

Declining Supplies Of Pigs Have Pushed Up Retail-Bacon Prices

Bacon slices are cooked on a stove in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Declining supplies of pigs that resulted from a deadly virus that spread across 30 states since the outbreak began last year have pushed up retail-bacon prices 10 percent in 2014 to $6.106 a pound in June, the highest since at least 1980. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The earnings season heads into the home stretch this week in the U.S. and Europe. Despite some lackluster results, U.S. stocks wrap up a weeks-long rally to close out October with the strongest monthly showing since 2011. Activity measures from China and employment data for the U.S. are the macroeconomic data book ends this coming week, with hog futures getting the spotlight on Saturday in a culinary festival entirely unsuitable for vegetarians.

Monday, November 2: Both the government National Bureau of Statistics and the private Caixin/Markit release China October purchasing managers’ index data. Many analysts anticipate that manufacturing index levels will remain in contraction territory, despite liquidity measures recently implemented by the People’s Bank of China. Comments last week by Premier Li Keqiang indicated that Beijing is increasingly comfortable with GDP below the official 7 percent target, as China continues its slow transition towards domestic consumption as a primary driver for growth.

Tuesday, November 3: October proved to be a brutal month for Pershing Square Capital Management’s Bill Ackman after shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, among the activist hedge fund manager’s holdings, declined by more than 40 percent. On Tuesday Herbalife, another thorn in Ackman’s side, will report earnings for the third quarter. On October 30 the multilevel marketing supplement company, which Ackman has called a pyramid scheme, issued a press release trolling him for his Valeant losses. For all of Ackman’s bluster, Herbalife’s price-per-share is up about 47 percent year-to-date.

Wednesday, November 4: The Kraft Heinz Company will report quarterly results for the first time after the completion of the merger between the two food-staple giants. In recent weeks industry insiders have speculated that Kraft may be considering the acquisition of European cheese and grocery assets that are being shopped by competitor Mondelez International, the suburban Chicago–based company that controls the snack food brands once part of Kraft.

Thursday, November 5: The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England makes its monthly policy decision announcement. With inflation levels remaining subdued, Bank governor Mark Carney is expected to announce the 80th consecutive month in which the benchmark lending rate will remain at the historic low of 0.05 percent.

Friday, November 6: The U.S. Department of Labor releases its October employment report, with expectations for the payroll figures to expand in the private sector after the job count was slightly lower than anticipated in September. Although the FOMC indicated this past week that the Federal Reserve remains intent on raising policy rates before the end of the year, concerns about weak participation rates and soft earnings growth continue to cast a shadow of doubt on timing for the hike.

Saturday, November 7: Hog futures hit a multimonth low on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this past week. Analysts point toward the conclusion of October Pork Month and the social-media-popular World Health Organization report that suggests bacon and other cured meats are carcinogenic. The WHO, for its part, has insisted that it’s not telling the public to stop eating bacon — a well-timed statement. Easton, Pennsylvania hosts the third-annual PA Bacon Fest. The weekend-long event is a celebration of all things bacon: bacon cupcakes; bacon-infused craft beer; l’Art du Cochon, a bacon-themed art contest; and a Racin’ Bacon 5K fun run, in which participants are rewarded with a slice of the savory cured meat. A highlight of the event for gourmets will be the pig roast duel that kicks off on Saturday morning, with chefs vying to create the prize-winning slowly roasted swine.