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Daily Agenda: The Week Ahead, April 27 – May 1, 2015

U.K. in preelection home stretch; Apple, Chevron, JetBlue announce earnings; Bank of Japan makes monthly announcement.

Less than two weeks remain until U.K.’s national election. Besides serving as a barometer of the public’s approval of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister David Cameron’s governance, the May 7 referendum also stands to serve as a vote on the country’s overall economic recovery. Despite rapidly improving job market and strong growth Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the Tories’ current coalition partner, are gaining enough ground that no party may have an outright majority. In addition, polls show the Scottish National Party racking up as much as half of the vote in Scotland, which would cast the party as a major player in Parliament. In terms of economic platforms, the Tories are pushing to raise the estate tax threshold and help first-time homeowners, while Labour’s proposal to slash tuition is being promoted as one way to bear down on the pockets of inflation weighing on the middle class — especially after a prolonged period of wage stagnation.

Monday, April 27: German import price data for March in Germany is expected to show further weakness as commodity prices remain low. Apple’s first-quarter earnings release will be of note, coming days after the consumer tech stalwart officially released the Apple Watch, its line of smart watches, for sale.

Tuesday, April 28: In Japan, retail trade figures will be carefully watched for any signal that the Bank of Japan’s massive easing program is helping to prop up household spending. To date, data has shown that shopping has failed to recover fully from the Abenomics-driven consumption tax increase last year, despite liquidity efforts by the central bank. With nine days remaining before the nation’s elections, the U.K.’s first-quarter 2015 GDP announcement arrives at a critical time for Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party. February Case-Shiller home price index levels will put the U.S. real estate market into focus. Conference Board consumer sentiment levels for April will also be announced. JetBlue Airways and Ford Motor Co. will be among the U.S. corporations posting profits for the first three months of the year, as will Wynn Resorts, with investors keen to learn more about weakness in revenues from Macau.

Wednesday, April 29: U.K. nationwide housing price index data for April will be released amid growing concerns that the country’s real estate market is reaching bubble levels, particularly in Greater London. Eurostat will announce March private lending and April consumer sentiment data on Wednesday while in Germany, critical consumer inflation figures for April are scheduled for release. In Brazil, IGP-M consumer inflation index levels are expected to remain muted, allowing policymakers at the Banco Central do Brasil significant latitude. The primary macro announcement in the U.S. for the day will be the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s first-estimate report of first-quarter 2015 GDP. Credit card provider MasterCard will be among the multiple financial services firms to announce first-quarter returns.

Thursday, April 30: Japanese March industrial production, April vehicle production and the Bank of Japan’s monthly announcement will put Abenomics under the microscope. Eurostat will announce euro zone March employment and April consumer inflation data, with expectations that price levels will remain well below target levels set by the European Central Bank. Major U.S. macro releases include Bureau for Economic Analysis personal income and outlays figures for March, as well as the weekly jobless claims report. BNP Paribas, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank of China will be among global financial firms reporting earnings. While a number of major U.S. companies, including Coca-Cola Enterprises, will announce earnings, the release by mid-cap TASER International will likely receive a good deal of attention, given the recent release of Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle, a documentary questioning the safety of the company’s law enforcement products.

Friday, May 1: Despite the holiday, CFLP official purchasing manager index levels for April will be released in China. Markit final manufacturing purchasing manager index levels for the U.K. will be announced on Friday, as will March money supply figures from the Bank of England. Monthly Reserve Bank of India loan growth data will be released following a sudden spike in April, leaving forecasters calling for a marginal slowdown. In the U.S., April Institute for Supply Management manufacturing survey levels and University of Michigan consumer sentiment figures will be released. Companies reporting earnings include Chevron Corp., Clorox and Moody’s Corp.

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