BUSINESS

Financial markets take a breather this week; BlackBerry reports Friday

09/21/2014 10:00 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:03 EDT
TORONTO - Financial markets can look forward to some relative calm this week, with little in the way of key economic data expected in either Canada or the United States.

However, traders will be watching the latest earnings report from smartphone maker BlackBerry (TSX:BB) on Friday.

CEO John Chen was hired last year to reshape the troubled company, which has cut costs and refocused its product and service offerings. It's expected to release a smartphone dubbed the Classic and a new format device called the Passport by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, this week will be a marked change from recent trading sessions, which included unease over the independence referendum in Scotland in which Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom and the latest interest rate announcement from the Federal Reserve in which the U.S. central bank took a stand pat stance.

The volatile end to the week, resulted in the TSX shedding 1.71 per cent, while the Dow finished the week ahead 1.72 per cent.

"It's pretty quiet everywhere for news," said Colin Cieszynski, a market analyst with CMCMarkets. "People will have a chance to catch their breath after the week we just had."

There will be two reports on both sides of the border that will be of interest, because they have the potential to give markets an idea of how the economy is faring.

Canadian retail sales for July will be released Tuesday, with analysts expecting a bump of 0.4 per cent year over year.

And Thursday will see the release of U.S. durable goods orders for August, which are expected to show a drop of 17.7 per cent after having risen 22 per cent in July. Although it'll be a decline, most business surveys still expect there to be a continued positive trend in manufacturing orders.

"Don't let the headline reading fool you, August's orders figures are likely to remain consistent with a steady uptrend in business capital spending," said Andrew Grantham, an economist with CIBC World Markets, in a research note.

"Such investment should be positive for GDP in the second half of 2014 and we expect business spending to remain a driver of growth in 2015 as well."

Kash Pashootan, vice-president and portfolio manager at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James Company, said with little else to take up investor attention this week, many will focus on the future outlook for markets once the Fed's quantitative easing program wraps up at the end of October.

Last week, the Fed announced that it was scaling back its bond buying program by another US$10 billion a month. The purchases have fuelled stock markets and kept long-term borrowing rates low.

"The biggest factor as we head to the end of October is how will markets react to quantitative easing ending," he said.

"The last few times it ended, the markets sold off... but with market valuations being high in the short-term, and the run that the markets have had, valuations are not cheap. Combine that with quantitative easing ending and there is reasonable evidence that we will see a modest sell-off in the market."

One factor that Pashootan points out is that the economic conditions this time around are supportive of the stimulus ending.

"The U.S. economy is in much better shape. Unemployment is lower than it was, and the overall confidence is stronger," he said. "But it's still reasonable to expect to see some sort of correction."

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