Weekly Preview: Non-Farm Payrolls, Global Central Banks in Focus

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Next week, investors eyes will be on the economy as well as some key company earnings as markets attempt to continue to make new highs.

In the past week, the S&P 500 Index breached its previous closing high of 1,565.40. Investors now look to economic indicators as to the next move for markets.

Earnings

Next week, earnings from agricultural giant Monsanto (NYSE: MON ) are expected as well as earnings from food conglomerate Conagra Foods (NYSE: CAG ) and from healthcare provider Accretive Health (NYSE: AH ).

Monsanto is expected to report fiscal second quarter EPS on Wednesday, April 3 of $2.561 compared to $2.28 a year ago.

Analysts at Bank of America have turned more positive on the stock since its recent deal with Dupont (NYSE DD). "We are increasing our FY14 EPS estimate to reflect the incremental royalties and our target price to reflect diminished risks that may have otherwise dragged on MON's multiple. We continue to use any volatility into/through March 28th (when the USDA crop planting intentions report is released) as an opportunity to buy MON."

Sales are expected to grow to $5.236 billion from $4.748 billion in the same period a year ago. Gross margins are expected to expand to 56.483 percent from 46.543 percent in the previous quarter. The options market is expecting a 3.27 percent move in the stock price on the earnings announcement.

Conagra Foods is also expected to report second quarter results on Wednesday before the bell.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank have a hold rating on the stock. "Conagra should continue to benefit from M&A-driven EPS accretion as well as Long-Term potential synergies from the Ralcorp deal and less volatility by partly divesting grain milling. However, we view core fundamentals as challenging, leverage is high (3.9x net debt/EBITDA) and are worried over slower private label consumption."

Conagra is expected to report fiscal third quarter EPS of $0.562 vs. $0.51 a year ago with sales expanding to $3.848 billion from $3.373 billion a year ago. Gross margins are expected to improve 23.66 percent from 23.44 percent in the previous quarter and the options market is expecting a 2.9 percent move in the stock price.

Lastly, Accretive Health is expected to report fourth quarter operations on Thursday.

Analysts at Oppenheimer have an outperform rating on the stock with a $15.00 price target. "We continue to believe AH's current valuation assumes a zero growth scenario. Because new business contributes essentially zero margin in year one, we apply a mature EBITDA margin to the company's existing revenue base, which yields an EV/EBITDA multiple slightly below 6x. Our $15 PT equates to ~9x mature EBITDA on the existing business."

The company is expected to report EPS of $0.09 compared to $0.17 a year ago with sales expected to be reported at $236.889 million vs. $260.08 million a year ago. Gross margins are expected to improve to 21.937 percent from 20.486 percent from the previous quarter.

Economics

On the economic calendar, investors will be eyeing key economic data from the US as well as central bank decisions from Europe and Japan.

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank are both expected to announce interest rate decisions Thursday, April 4 and the Bank of Japan is expected to increase easing efforts Thursday night in its policy statement.

Also, investors will be eyeing the Non-Farm Payrolls Report for the U.S. due out Friday morning before the market opens.

Weekly Calendar

Monday

Earnings Expected From: GenCorp (NYSE: GY ), Harvest Natural Resources (NYSE: HNR ) and GMX Resources (NYSE: GMXR ).Economic Releases Expected: Markit U.S. PMI, ISM Manufacturing Index, Reserve Bank of Australia Interest Rate Decision and FDIC Rules on Loan Purchases.

Tuesday

Earnings Expected From: Maxwell Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: MXWL ) and Magnum Holder Resources (NYSE: MHR ).Economic Releases Expected: the Eurozone Unemployment Rate, ECB Board Member Benoit Coeure, U.S. Factory Orders, Fed Presidents Kocherlakota, Evans and Lockhart are expected to speak, Total Vehicle Sales and Domestic Vehicle Sales and the final HSBC China Services PMI are to be released.

Wednesday

Earnings Expected From: Monsanto and Conagra Foods.Economic Releases Expected: Eurozone CPI, MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Survey, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index and speeches from Fed Presidents Williams and Bullard.

Thursday

Earnings Expected From: Accretive Health,Economic Releases Expected: Eurozone composite and services PMI's, Bank of England Interest Rate decision, Challenger Job Cuts, the European Central Bank Interest Rate decision, Eurogroup Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is expected to speak, ECB President Draghi is to hold his press conference following the interest rate decision, Initial Jobless Claims, speeches from the Fed's Evans, George, Yellen and the Bank of Japan Interest Rate decision.

Friday

Economic Releases Expected: U.S. Trade Balance, U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls, U.S. Unemployment Rate and Consumer Credit.

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Bonds , Commodities , Futures , International

Referenced Stocks: CAG , GMXR , GY , MHR , MXWL

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