Asian stock markets reported best weekly gains this month on the speculation of further stimulus measures from China and the U.S. while better-than-expected earnings from the U.S. companies also boosted sentiment.
The market participants' focus remains on the central banks and the outlook for more monetary policy easing after a slew of central banks around the world surprised the markets by cutting rates over the past several days. However, the announcements failed to calm the market jitters and raised concerns among investors that the actions reflected the policy makers' pessimistic outlook on their economies.
China will be in focus again in Asia as the slowdown in the second quarter economic activity and the dovish comments by Premier Wen raised expectations of a further reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut. The data on the July private sector manufacturing and the June industrial profits are due to be released next week. Both the readings will likely deteriorate further and could support hopes for further easing.
South Korea is due to report the second quarter GDP data Thursday, which is likely to show a slowdown and come in below the consensus. Singapore's July inflation is likely to pick up while the CPI inflation in Vietnam is expected fall further in July.
Next week will focus attention on the prospects for more policy easing. In China, we do expect a fairly imminent RRR cut and other pro-growth measures on the fiscal side. The slowdown in Q2 GDP data in Korea could support hopes for another cut next month, said a note from Credit Agricole.
Meanwhile, the economic data and corporate earnings from the U.S. will continue to weigh on the markets. Reports, including the second quarter GDP, new home sales and durable goods for the month of June will be released during the week.
A slew of companies, including Apple, Facebook, Ford Motor, Texas Instruments and Amazon.com will report their quarterly earnings in the coming week. Apple is due to release its third quarter earnings Tuesday and is expected to exceed the already high expectations for the iPhone maker, which could trigger a rally in the tech sector. Apple is expected to report a third quarter net profit of $10.38 per share, up from $7.79 per share in the same period a year ago.
Apple can drive the whole (tech) group. There's a huge psychological component as it relates directly to Apple. If they just blast numbers like they did last quarter, then obviously the perception will be everybody else did pretty good and Apple did fabulous, Daniel Morgan, who helps manage about $3.5 billion at Synovus Trust Company in Atlanta, told Reuters.
In Japan, the consumer price index and merchandise trade for the month of June are due to be released during the week. The merchandise trade deficit is expected to be narrowed to 590.0bn from 657.2bn in May while the consumer price index is likely to be zero percent on an annual basis.
Meanwhile, the Indian stock markets are expected to experience volatility as a slew of blue chip companies, including Wipro, Larsen &Toubro, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Hindustan Unilever, Power Grid Corporation, Cairn India and HCL Technologies, are due to release their quarterly earnings next week.
Market participants are also waiting to see whether the government will announce policy reforms, such as an increase in diesel prices or allowing more foreign investment in the aviation and retail sectors after the presidential election results are out Sunday, reported Reuters.