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Diary: Fed Minutes, RBA Speeches, Black Friday

A fairly quiet week ahead of markets because of the Thanksgiving holidays in the US on Thursday night and Friday, Sydney time.

In Australia though there will be more speculation about the health of the economy and future course of interest rates today and tomorrow.

That will be stirred by speeches by Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe (tomorrow) and senior officials Jonathan Kearns (financial stability) and Marion Kohler (domestic markets) later today along with the minutes from the last RBA board meeting (also out tomorrow).

All four events will be closely watched for clues regarding the interest rate outlook which changed last week with the weak wages data that not even a solid jobs report for October could offset.

Major data releases will be light on this week, though the September quarter construction data (on Wednesday) is expected to show a decline after a strong rise in the June quarter, but should show some evidence of improvement in non-mining investment and will provide input to September quarter GDP forecasts, according to the AMP’s Chief Economist, Dr Shane Oliver.

The latest skilled vacancies figures (also Wednesday) will also be released.

Corporate results will see a few more annual meetings and results from GrainCorp (half year, tomorrow) and ALS Group (half year) later today. Brisbane-based Technology One is also due to report its full year figures this week.

Annual meetings will include Woolworths, Webjet, Beach Energy and Primary Health Care.

In the US, there’s the minutes from the Fed’s last meeting (on Thursday) which will confirm that the Fed remains on track to raise interest rates by another 0.25% at its mid-December meeting.

The Thanksgiving holiday kicks off the usual Christmas shopping season, but many analysts wonder if it can save struggling retailers, especially the conventional department stores from being further undermined by online rivals.

America’s National Retail Federation estimates that about 69% of Americans or about 170 million people plan to shop or consider shopping over the holiday weekend that begins Thanksgiving day and stretches out till Cyber Monday.

Black Friday, or the Friday after Thanksgiving, is expected to be the busiest day with 70% or about 115 million planning to shop then.

But the FT says "many now question the relevance of the day that was once known for doorbusters and huge sales. The rise of e-commerce has seen retailers push out discounts, both online and in-stores, days before Black Friday kicks off.

On the data front existing home sales are out tomorrow, durable goods orders (on Wednesday) and the Markit business conditions PMIs (on Friday) are likely to remain solid.

Eurozone business conditions PMIs (Thursday) are expected to remain strong consistent with ongoing strong economic growth.

In the UK the embattled May government faces a big test this week - the autumn budget on Wednesday.

The Financial Times says this budget “has become a battleground for the government that is grappling with a weakening economic outlook and ferocious debate over Brexit.”

Based on the news flow out of London in the past week, that situation isn’t going to change.

GDP data for the third quarter (the third estimate) wil be published this week, along with the latest estimate of third quarter GDP for Germany, Singapore, Mexico, Thailand and Taiwan.

View More Articles By Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.



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