1) US economy Q1 GDP – 28/05 – the US economy saw a -4.8% annualised contraction in Q1 GDP in its initial release a few weeks ago, a huge fall when you consider that for most of the quarter the economy was humming along nicely. It was only in the last two weeks of March that the economy found itself going into shutdown, with jobless claims jumping as much as 10m in the last two weeks of the quarter. This week's preliminary GDP will include more missing data from the final weeks of March which could see this number revised even lower. We know retail sales and personal spending slumped sharply in March, which in such a consumer driven economy makes the prospect of further weakness even more likely and notable.
2) German Q1 GDP and IFO (May) – 25/05 – in its April reading German IFO hit a record low of 74.3, as economic output and business confidence collapsed as economic activity shutdown across the whole of Europe. With the German economy sinking into recession in Q1, after a 0.1% contraction in Q4, there is little expectation that things will improve in Q2. Monday's German Q1 final GDP number is expected to be confirmed at -2.2%, however this could be revised lower as the final data for March gets factored in. The only silver lining is that the latest IFO reading for May could see an improvement off the record low we saw in April. This is because economies across Europe have started to ease lockdown restrictions which means a lot of these indicators are likely to see a pickup in the coming months, in the absence of the re-imposition of lockdown measures
3) US Consumer Confidence (May) - 26/05 – only a few months ago US consumer confidence was sitting near 20-year highs, so the sharp fall in April back to levels last seen in September 2014 shouldn't really have been too much of a surprise. The real surprise, was the fact that we didn't fall even lower, to the levels we saw in February 2009 as we came out of the financial crisis. This of course doesn't mean we can't fall further, after all the number of Americans signing up for jobless claims since the last confidence reading has soared, to levels way beyond the levels we saw at the height of the financial crisis. It is hard to imagine that consumer confidence won't fall even more when set against such a bleak economic reality.
4) US Personal Spending (Apr) – 29/05 – in March US personal spending slumped sharply to a record low of -7.5%, as headlines started to reach US shores about the rising global death toll of Covid-19. and that was even before the US economy had gone into full lockdown. When the US economy did go into lockdown, as cases started to rise in New York, there was still just under two weeks of March left to go. Having remained in lockdown for all of April it stands to reason that the record low seen in March is likely to be fairly short-lived with another shocking number of -12.6% expected.
5) US Beige Book – 27/05 – the last Beige Book in April saw US businesses retrench sharply, with leisure, hospitality, and manufacturing seeing some of the biggest declines. Employment declined in all districts as employees were either furloughed or let go. The near-term outlook was for this trend to continue with little in the way of upward pressure on wages or prices. The survey also pointed to disruption in supply chains in agriculture due to problems as a result of social distancing. This week's Beige Book is unlikely to paint a markedly different picture to the one in April, though we might see some optimism start to creep in as the US economy gets set to re-open in a number of key states and areas.
6) British Land FY20 - 27/05 – real estate investment companies have taken an absolute battering in recent months, and that was even before the coronavirus shutdowns that have seen retailers, and other businesses unable to pay their rents. Unlike some of its peers British Land owns a higher proportion of office space than it does retail space, with a particular focus on its flagship developments based in London. That still didn't prevent a slide of 34% in revenues its first half numbers back in November. Underlying profits fell to £152m from £169m, as retail valuations fell 10.7%. With peers like Intu struggling to survive due to non-payment of rents by similarly struggling retailers, the next few months are likely to be difficult for all commercial property owners. British Land may be in a better position than some of its peers, but unless the UK economy is able to rebound in a sustained manner over the rest of the year, then this sector is likely to find itself having to absorb further losses and write downs on their portfolios in the coming months, particularly if home working becomes the new normal and businesses downsize their office space requirements.
7) Daily Mail and General Trust H1 20 – 28/05 – at its pre-close trading update on the 26th March, DMGT said that trading was in line with expectations, however in updating investors management said that the shutdown was likely to have significantly adverse effects on the overall business. In the five months to the end of February, underlying group revenues were up 3%, however CEO Paul Zwillenberg warned that advertising revenues, particularly in print were likely to be negatively affected. We've already seen the consequences of that with reports of wholesale job losses from across the print and digital media sector in the past few weeks. DMGT went on to say that the company had £363m of gross cash, as well as £374m of committed undrawn bank facilities.
8) HP Inc Q2 20 – 27/05 – the death of the PC has been predicted for quite some time now, however the shift to working from home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has precipitated a big shift in demand in recent weeks. About a month ago Lenovo's head of business said that they had never been this busy. This offers a unique opportunity to the likes of HP, who offer a range of products and peripherals to address this specific demand dynamic. There have been reports that HP has struggled to fulfil some of this pickup in demand and it is true that some of its products have gone out of stock, due to some supply chain disruption, which may well act as a drag on its Q2 numbers. In Q1 HP's US shipments declined, an underperformance it needs to address quickly. While HP still accounts for 21.8% of the global market it is under pressure from some of its more nimble and cheaper peers. For the full year the company expects to see EPS of $2.33 to $2.43. Q2 expectations are for EPS to come in at $0.45 a share, which seems a little on the low side.
9) Williams-Sonoma Q1 21 – 29/05 – a decent bellwether of the US economy Williams Sonoma specialises in a range of household cookware, bakeware, and furniture. It is one of the biggest retailers in this space. The company also owns the Pottery Barn and West Elm brands and in January saw its shares hit record highs on the back of optimism that it would continue to see consistent gains in operating margins. Since then the US economy has taken a turn for the worse, along with a sharp dip in the share price. The shares have bounced back a little since the March lows. In Q4 Williams-Sonoma reported double digit gains in traffic, revenue and new customers. There is still likely to have been a significant hit to overall revenues given the closure of its stores worldwide, nonetheless the business does have a very efficient on-line operation, which could compensate to some extent. Nonetheless it is still expected that we may see a quarterly loss of $0.07c a share.
10) Ralph Lauren Q4 20 – 27/05 – luxury brands haven't been immune to the global pandemic crisis and Ralph Lauren isn't expected to be any different. During Q3 the fashion retailer's revenues increased to $1.8bn, led by decent improvements in Asia and European markets, despite the disruption in Hong Kong. Profits also beat expectations, coming in at $2.86c a share. This quarter is expected to be a complete contrast given the coronavirus shutdowns across the world, and while the business does have an on-line operation it probably won't be enough to prevent a Q4 loss of $0.18c a share. The company will probably miss its previous guidance which was for fiscal 2020 revenues to jump by 2% to 3%.
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