A U.S. Trade Complaint, Tech Earnings and Jobs Numbers

A U.S. Trade Complaint, Tech Earnings and Jobs Numbers

Here’s what to expect in the week ahead:


On Monday, the dispute resolution body of the World Trade Organization in Geneva will hear a complaint filed by the United States alleging that China’s regulation of foreign companies violates international rules protecting intellectual property rights. The complaint, part of President Trump’s effort to check China’s growing economic influence, accuses Chinese companies of breaking patent laws by pilfering technologies after licensing agreements with American companies end. Under W.T.O. rules, China could block the first hearing but cannot block a second one from being held, probably as early as next month, according to American officials.

— Glenn Thrush


H. Lawrence Culp Jr., the new chief executive at General Electric, has been on the job for less than a month. So when the troubled industrial icon reports results on Tuesday, analysts will be looking less at the third-quarter numbers than the broad contours of the new chief’s turnaround plan. Two issues for the company: how to pull its power generation business out of its tailspin, and the fate of the dividend. Analysts expect the 48-cent yearly payout to be cut by up to 90 percent, to conserve cash.

— Steve Lohr


Facebook will report its earnings for the third quarter on Tuesday, an event sure to be closely monitored by investors. The company has been battered throughout 2018, thanks in part to wide-ranging market volatility and controversy surrounding foreign influence campaigns operating across the service. But Wall Street was also shocked in July, when Facebook reported sales growth lagging far below expectations and company executives said little to explain the shortcomings. Expect the Street to keep a close eye on revenue growth trajectory, and if Facebook’s user numbers have flagged in the wake of major changes to how the News Feed operates.

— Mike Isaac


Official European Union figures coming out on Tuesday are expected to show that growth in the eurozone slowed significantly from July through September. A period of unusually strong expansion has been interrupted by stock market turmoil, trade tensions, Brexit and even new emissions rules that slowed delivery of new cars. But Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, insisted last week that although the eurozone is growing more slowly, it is not sinking into recession.

— Jack Ewing


Apple is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Thursday and analysts who track the company predict — surprise — that the good times are likely to continue for Apple, the world’s most valuable public company. Sales of iPhones have leveled off in recent quarters but people have been paying more for each device, sustaining a steady growth rate for the $1 trillion company. Apple is also expected to continue lifting revenues via its services businesses, including Apple Music, iCloud and its share of app sales. Only a fraction of the sales of Apple’s newest phones, including the iPhone XS, will be included in the earnings report because the phones went on sale about a week before the end of the quarter on Sept. 30.

— Jack Nicas


Automakers will report on Thursday the number of new vehicles sold in October, and analysts are forecasting about a 2 percent decline compared with October 2017. The drop is part of the downward trend that the industry has experienced since sales hit a record in 2016. On the brighter side, however, the pace of sales remains brisk and the total for this year is still expected to exceed 17 million.

— Neal E. Boudette


On Friday, at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department is scheduled to release its report on the nation’s hiring and unemployment for October, the last official snapshot of the economy before Americans vote in the midterms elections. After Hurricane Florence dampened growth in September, most Wall Street analysts are expecting payrolls to bounce back, with a monthly increase of 190,000. The jobless rate is expected to remain at the 3.7 percent level it hit in September, which was a nearly five-decade low. After two months of 0.3 percent growth in average hourly earnings, economists are expecting the pace to tick down to 0.2 percent. Even a slowdown from the previous months, however, would mean an improvement in the year-over-year figure (because the weak showing from October 2017 would drop out of the 12-month average). A rate of 3.1 percent would represent the strongest annual growth since April 2009.

— Patricia Cohen


On Friday, the Alibaba Group, China’s biggest online shopping platform, will announce how its financials fared during the quarter through September, a period of deepening gloom for the Chinese economy. The currency has been falling. Businesses and consumers are growing nervous about the possibility of a drawn-out trade war between China and the United States. Overall economic growth was the slowest in nearly a decade. In recent weeks, some analysts have been lowering their target price for Alibaba’s stock, expecting also that the company’s spending on new business areas — such as brick-and-mortar stores and food delivery — will continue to weigh on profits.

— Raymond Zhong


European bank supervisors on Friday will publish results of the latest tests of lenders’ ability to weather financial or economic crises. The so-called stress tests examine what happens to banks’ capital and cash reserves in the event of various doomsday scenarios. Attention will be focused on banks in Italy, which could become collateral damage in their government’s dispute with the European Union. Italian banks are vulnerable because they have invested much of their capital in Italian government bonds, which have lost value as investors begin to doubt Italy’s solvency.

— Jack Ewing


Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell all report their third-quarter earnings this week, and analysts and shareholders will be listening carefully to their guidance on future spending and the outlook for increased oil and gas production. Rising oil prices in the quarter should help profits. But prices are suddenly declining again owing to slowing global economic growth, plentiful stockpiles and increased production from Saudi Arabia and Russia. How executives view the future will help decide levels of investment, and offer clues to the profit picture for next year.

— Clifford Krauss

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