Newspaper article International New York Times

Business: The Week Ahead

Newspaper article International New York Times

Business: The Week Ahead

Article excerpt

As compiled by the editors of the International New York Times.

Economists to scour U.S. data for signs of retail rebound

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department will release the latest data on retail sales in March.

Economists are looking for a rebound in store sales after a weak performance in recent months, despite sharply lower gasoline prices that have left more cash in consumers' pockets.

The consensus on Wall Street is for a 1 percent gain, driven by strong auto sales and higher discretionary spending. Even with the exclusion of volatile car and gasoline purchases, core retail sales are thought to have increased by 0.4 percent.

If the numbers come in below those somewhat optimistic forecasts, it will only add to the mystery of what consumers are doing with their savings on energy. Weak retail sales growth, if it persists, will sap overall economic gains in the first half of 2015.

Big American banks to release quarterly earnings figures

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo will be the first big banks to report their first-quarter earnings on Tuesday morning before the market opens.

On the consumer side, the continued sluggishness in mortgage lending is expected to drag on results.

But JPMorgan is expected to have benefited from a pickup in trading activity during the first few months of the year. That should also help Bank of America, which reports its results on Wednesday, and Citigroup and Goldman, which are to report on Thursday.

All of the banks with big trading operations have been struggling over the last few years as low interest rates and new regulations have discouraged trading activity. If there is a turnaround in the first quarter, there will be lots of questions about whether there is any longer term pickup in the works.

All of the big banks are hoping to bounce back from a fourth quarter that was broadly lackluster.

China is expected to report weaker growth in G.D.P.

China's economy is expected to show further signs of weakening when the country reports first quarter gross domestic product figures on Wednesday. Economists are forecasting that growth slipped to 7.1 percent in the January-to-March period, the slowest quarterly expansion since 2009. …

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