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Week Ahead: Asian Stock Markets To Open On Negative Note.

Asian markets are expected to begin the week on a negative note with the U.S. stocks Friday suffering their worst day since June as Dow components General Electric and McDonald's missed estimates, adding to a disappointing earnings season.

Asian stock markets reported the best weekly gains this month as better-than-expected economic reports from the U.S. and China indicated an improvement in the growth prospects of the world's largest and second largest economies.

Market participants' focus will remain on the economic data and corporate earnings as a slew of reports from the U.S. and Asia are due to be released during the week and the barrage of earnings will provide guidance on how much the global slowdown affects the U.S.

Reports, including the third quarter GDP, Michigan Consumer Sentiment and durable goods for the month of September will be released during the week. The U.S. Commerce Department will report its first estimate of real GDP growth for the third quarter before the markets open Thursday. Economists are forecasting that the real GDP will grow at 1.9 percent annual rate in third quarter, up from 1.3 percent in the second quarter.

China will be in focus again in Asia as a private sector version of the Chinese manufacturing PMI for October is due to be released Wednesday and is likely to show the HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a measure of the nation-wide manufacturing, for October is due be released Wednesday and is likely to show a slight improvement from a fairly low level.

"We expect a modest pick-up, albeit still to a weak level. This would confirm the GDP and monthly data released last week, and show a reacceleration of the Chinese momentum. Some other data in Asia should suggest some limited improvement as well (Korean GDP and Singapore's industrial production for instance)," said a note from Credit Agricole.

Meanwhile, corporate earnings season heads into a full swing next week, with eight Dow components and 155 S&P 500 companies scheduled to release results and will offer further guidance on the health of the U.S. companies.

Of the 116 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far in this earnings season, 60 percent have exceeded analysts' estimates. Just 38 percent of S&P 500 companies beat expectations on revenue in the past week, compared with 41 percent since the start of the reporting period and well below the 62 percent long-term average, according to Thomson Reuters' data. Earnings for S&P 500 components are expected to decline 1.8 percent from a year ago.

"The earnings season is not looking very bright. Investors have sold off shares after weak results, and more profit taking may be in store for stocks, given the big gains they've seen since the start of the year," Larry Peruzzi, senior equity trader at Cabrera Capital Markets Inc. in Boston, told Reuters.

A slew of companies, including Apple, Facebook, Ford Motor, Texas Instruments and, 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 fourth net profit of $8.85 per share on revenues of $36.23 billion, up from $7.05 per share on revenues of $28.27 billion in the same period a year ago.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Oct 21, 2012
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