By Craig James

On Monday the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases lending finance data. The figures cover housing, personal, lease and commercial loans. Also on Monday the Reserve Bank releases data on credit and debit card lending.

On Tuesday National Australia Bank releases the September business survey. As the Reserve Bank Governor is fond of stressing, business conditions and confidence levels are actually close to normal – in contrast to the media-driven perception that sentiment and activity are soft.

Also on Tuesday, ANZ and Roy Morgan release the weekly consumer confidence rating. And Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Philip Lowe, delivers a speech.

On Wednesday, Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the monthly survey of consumer confidence. This is more of a check on the more frequent weekly survey. However it will be the first monthly reading since the Federal Government leadership changes.

Also on Wednesday the ABS releases the June quarter Building Activity publication – noteworthy because it includes the latest estimate of dwelling starts or commencements. We estimate that dwelling starts rose by 5.5% to fresh all-time highs.

On Thursday the ABS releases the monthly job figures. Despite seemingly soft economic growth rates, the job market has been quite resilient. We expect that employment may have lifted by just 5,000 in September after strong gains in previous months while the jobless rate may have held steady at 6.2%.

Also on Thursday the ABS will confirm that car sales were at record highs in September. And on Friday, the Reserve Bank will hand down the bi-annual Financial Stability Review with most interest in comments on the housing sector.

Overseas – inflation dominates

On Tuesday in the US, the National Federation of Independent Business, a leading small business association, releases its September survey. On the same day the monthly Federal Budget report is released together with the usual weekly chain store sales data.

Also on Tuesday in China, September trade data is released. In August the trade surplus stood at a lofty level of just over US$60 billion.

On Wednesday inflation data dominates in both China and the US. In China both producer and consumer price figures are released. And in the US, the data is confined to just the producer price index (PPI) although alongside another ‘top shelf’ indicator in the monthly retail sales data. The core PPI is tipped to have lifted 0.1% in September while retail sales likely posted a modest 0.3% increase. The usual weekly report on mortgage transactions – purchases and refinancing – is also scheduled.

On Thursday in the US, weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is issued together with the consumer price index (CPI) and influential business surveys from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve district banks. The core CPI may have lifted just 0.1% in September and by 1.8% over the year.

And on Friday in the US, industrial production data is scheduled together with the consumer sentiment survey, the JOLTS job openings survey and data on longer-term capital slows. Economists estimate that production lifted by 0.2% in September after falling 0.4% in the previous month.

Sharemarkets, interest rates, commodities and currencies

The US earnings season has begun. And yet again analysts are telling investors to brace for weakness. For the first time in five years, S&P 500 companies are expected to report lower earnings than the previous year with estimates centred on a decline of around 5%. 

FactSet senior earnings analyst, John Butters, has been quoted by MarketWatch as tipping a 5.1% fall in earnings. However encouragingly Butters says that only 76 companies in the S&P 500 have so far issued profit warnings – the lowest number for just over three years.

Amongst those companies reporting on Monday is Infosys while on Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson, CSX and Intel issue profit results.

On Wednesday, Bank of America, Blackrock, Wells Fargo, and Netflix issue earnings results.

On Thursday, US Bancorp and Advanced Micro are slated to report their earnings results. And on Friday, General Electric and Honeywell are amongst those to report.