Nothing could possibly be more important than the US Presidential Election on 3 November. On that day, Americans will decide who will occupy The White House and subsequently chart a course for the world’s largest economy that could alter its relationship with the rest of the world.
On the economic front, the US Federal Reserve will announce its latest interest-rate decision. It is likely to keep the Fed fund rate unchanged at 0.25%. The US will also announce unemployment numbers that could show the jobless rate remains stubbornly high at 7.7%.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia could cut its cash rate to a fresh record low of 0.1%. At its last meeting, the central bank warned that the national recovery could be bumpy and uneven. Closer to home, Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to keep the overnight policy rate unchanged at 1.75%. Elswehere, the Bank of England could also sit on its hands for another month.
China will report some close close-watched purchasing managers’ indices. Both manufacturing and services sectors are expected to show continued expansion. Another closely-followed measure of China’s economy is its balance of trade. That could indicate both growth in exports and imports.
On the results front, Singapore three listed banks are expected step into the spotlight. In July, DBS Group (SGX: D05) said second-quarter profit fell by more than a-fifth on lower net interest margins.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) fared worse in the second quarter. It said profit dropped by 40%. OCBC said banks need to shore up their balance sheets and prepare for a slow recovery, given the uncertain near-term outlook. United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) also recorded a 40% fall in second-quarter profit.
Other companies that are pencilled in for results include Jardine C&C (SGX: C07), Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L) and Venture Corporation (SGX: V03).
And finally, Singapore’s retail sales could have rebounded in September. In August, they fell 5.7% year on year, which was the 19th straight month of falls. But they could be up by as much as 2.5% in September.
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Disclosure: David Kuo owns shares in DBS, OCBC, UOB and Jardine C&C.