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posted: 4/28/2013 6:17 AM

The week ahead: ECB, Fed, Facebook, Buffett, Derby

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Bloomberg News

The European Central Bank is likely to cut its benchmark rate in the coming week to keep the recovery it forecasts for later this year on track. The U.S. Federal Reserve will probably vote to continue its record bond- buying program.

U.S. employment is likely to have jumped in April as companies looked beyond the impact of government budget cuts.

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Warren Buffett will answer questions from his shareholders at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska.

Facebook Inc., General Motors Co., Deutsche Bank AG, BP Plc and Softbank Corp. will be among companies releasing results.

At Churchill Downs, the 139th Kentucky Derby will be run, and racehorse Verrazano is the early favorite.

Monday, April 29

• Chinese markets closed April 29-May 1 for holidays.

• U.S. personal spending and incomes probably rose at slower paces in March than a month earlier, showing the biggest part of the economy cooled as the first quarter drew to a close. The Commerce Department issues figures at 08:30 in Washington.

• Italy to sell bonds. 11:00 in Rome (05:00 EDT).

• Milken Institute Global Conference. Speakers include former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair (10:30 EDT, April 29); Pacific Investment Management Co. Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El- Erian (11:00 EDT, April 29); IAC/InterActiveCorp. Chairman Barry Diller (12:30 EDT, April 29); and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates (19:00 EDT, May 1). In Los Angeles. April 27-May 1.

• Ambac tax deal with U.S. A U.S. bankruptcy judge will consider approving a tax settlement in which Ambac Financial Group Inc. and its bond-insurance unit pay $101.9 million to the U.S. The bond-insurance unit, Ambac Assurance Corp., was the second- largest bond insurer before the 2008 financial crisis. Approval may clear the way for the holding company to exit bankruptcy. 10:00 in New York.

• Economic reports: U.S. pending home sales (March), Euro-area economic confidence (April), German inflation (April), U.K. Hometrack house prices (April), Spanish retail sales (March).

• Earnings reports: Fiat SpA

Tuesday, April 30:

• U.S. Conference Board's consumer confidence index probably stabilized in April after slumping a month earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey, reflecting higher stock prices and home values. The Conference Board reports at 10:00 in New York.

• Bloomberg LINK "Washington Summit." Speakers include: Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. 08:00 at Foreign Affairs, 1777 F St NW, in Washington.

• Economy: S&P/Case-Shiller home price index (February), Chicago purchasing manager index (April), Euro-area inflation (April, first estimate), Euro-area unemployment (March), German GfK consumer confidence (May), U.K. GfK consumer confidence (April), U.K. mortgage approvals (March); Spanish GDP (first quarter), Japan industrial production (March), South Korea industrial production (March), Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association production (2012), Taiwan GDP (first quarter), Chile copper production (March), Turkey trade balance (March), Kenya inflation (April).

• Earnings: Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, NYSE Euronext, Pfizer Inc., McGraw-Hill Cos., Softbank Corp., Japan Airlines Co., ANA Holdings Inc., Lloyds Banking Group Plc, BP Plc, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV

Wednesday, May 1

• Fed rate decision. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and fellow policy makers probably will vote to continue the Fed's record level of bond buying totaling $85 billion a month. New York Federal Reserve President William C. Dudley has publicly expressed support for continuing the purchases as the pace of job creation has slowed. The Federal Open Market Committee releases a policy statement following its two-day meeting at 14:00 in Washington. Bernanke will hold no press conference today. The Fed chairman holds media conferences each quarter after meetings, with the next one scheduled for June 19.

• U.S. manufacturing probably expanded in April at about the same pace as a month earlier, restrained by weakness overseas and less inventory building, according to a Bloomberg survey. The Institute for Supply Management reports at 10:00 in New York.

• China manufacturing activity index for April. The purchasing managers' index will probably post 50.9, matching the 11-month high reached in March. Data showing weaker-than-estimated economic growth in China during the first quarter have prompted banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to cut full-year forecasts for expansion. 09:00 in Beijing (04/30 21:00 EDT).

• Facebook Inc.'s earnings. The owner of the world's largest social-networking service probably will report first-quarter profit surged as sales rose 36 percent to $1.44 billion, according to a Bloomberg survey. Facebook, which has more than 1 billion users, has expanded options for marketers by offering advertising tools on mobile devices. Facebook's shares are down about 30 percent since it went public last May 17. After 16:00 in Menlo Park, California.

• South Korea reports consumer prices for April, with inflation forecast to rise and the Bank of Korea warning about high inflation expectations. 08:00 in Seoul (04/30 19:00 EDT).

• Bank of Canada Governor and Bank of England Governor-designate Mark Carney delivers a lecture at the University of Alberta at 18:05 EDT in Edmonton, Alberta. Carney said April 17 Canada's central bank may raise its benchmark rate even as he lowered forecasts for economic growth. Remarks published on the central bank's website at 17:50 EDT. Press conference at 19:30 EDT.

• U.S. insurance IPO. ING US Inc., the American insurance unit of ING Groep NV, plans to raise as much as $1.54 billion. The New York-based company would have a market value of about $5.78 billion at the midpoint of the price range. The unit plans to change its name to Voya Financial after the share sale. The stock starts trading on May 2, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker VOYA.

• Economy: U.S. vehicle sales (April), U.S. ADP employment (April), South Korea trade data (April).

• Earnings: MasterCard Inc., Visa Inc., MetLife Inc., Merck & Co., Comcast Corp., Time Warner Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corp., CVS Caremark Corp., Viacom Inc., CBS Corp.

Thursday, May 2

• European Central Bank rate decision. The Frankfurt-based central bank will lower its benchmark rate to a record low of 0.50 percent when policy makers meet on May 2 in Bratislava, according to the median of economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg. With doubts growing about the ECB's projection for an economic recovery later this year, President Mario Draghi signaled in April that he was looking at a range of measures, including a rate cut and a program to foster lending to smaller companies in southern Europe. 13:45 in Bratislava, Slovakia (07:45 EDT). Draghi gives a press conference at 14:30 local time (08:30 EDT).

• U.S. trade deficit probably narrowed in March for a second month, according to a Bloomberg survey, as cheaper petroleum lowered the nation's energy costs. The Commerce Department reports at 08:30 in Washington.

• Investment Company Institute. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein speaks at 12:45 and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White gives a "Regulatory Address" at 07:30 on May 3 at the ICI's General Membership Meeting. White may discuss her plans for new rules to govern money-market mutual funds after the SEC's efforts failed last year. Through May 3.

• HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics release a gauge of China's manufacturing activity. The final reading for the April purchasing managers' index may be 50.6, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists, compared with a preliminary estimate of 50.5 and the final reading of 51.6 in March. 09:45 in Beijing (05/01 21:45 EDT).

• France to sell bonds. 10:50 in Paris (04:50 EDT).

• Asian Development Bank annual meeting. Finance ministers and central bank governors from throughout Asia will gather outside New Delhi, in Noida, for the 46th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank. Finance ministers and officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan and South Korea will also hold discussions. Through May 5.

• St. Gallen Symposium. Speakers at two-day conference include International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, BlackRock Inc. Chairman Larry Fink, UBS AG CEO Sergio Ermotti, Credit Suisse Group AG CEO Brady Dougan, Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan, and Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. St. Gallen, Switzerland. Through Friday, May 3.

• Obama's Mexico trip. President Obama meets in Mexico City with President Enrique Pena Nieto, who visited the White House in November. Discussions will focus on trade and U.S. immigration policy. On May 3, Obama flies to Costa Rica for meetings with President Laura Chinchilla and Central American leaders.

• Insider sentencing for Dell, Nvidia trades. Ex-Diamondback Capital Management LLC fund manager Todd Newman will be sentenced to as long as 6 1/2 years for participating in a scheme to use illicit tips to trade shares of the two technology companies, the government says. 10:00 in New York.

• Platinum, palladium. Thomson Reuters GFMS releases its review of platinum and palladium supplies and prices. The metals, used in catalytic converters for cars, are beating gold and silver as an investment this year. 13:00 in London (08:00 EDT).

• U.K. local elections. Local elections are held across England, and the opposition Labour Party seeks to retain a House of Commons seat in a special election in South Shields in the northeast. The scale of possible Labour gains from Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives will be scrutinized for indications of how the parties are performing nationally, as will the performance of the anti-Europe U.K. Independence Party, which has been drawing support from traditional parties. Voting ends at 22:00 local time (17:00 EDT). Results are due Friday, May 3.

• Economy: U.S. Challenger job cuts (April), Euro-area manufacturing PMI (April, final report).

• Earnings: General Motors Co., American International Group Inc., Kellogg Co., BMW AG, BSkyB Plc, Siemens AG, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

• PGA Tour. The Wells Fargo Championship begins at 07:00 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Last year's winner was Rickie Fowler.

Friday, May 3

• U.S. jobs report. The number of jobs added to the economy probably jumped in April from 88,000 a month earlier and the unemployment rate held at a four-year low of 7.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey. Employers looked beyond the impact of federal budget cuts to boost hiring. The Labor Department reports at 08:30 in Washington.

• Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual-meeting weekend and quarterly earnings. Shareholders assemble in Omaha, Nebraska, for three days of events centered on the meeting hosted by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett. Other events during the weekend include a cookout, a shopping day, a 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) race and a cocktail reception for shareholders at Berkshire-owned Borsheims jewelry store. The company may announce first-quarter financial results as early as today.

• Reserve Bank of India monetary policy decision. Most economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect the central bank to cut its benchmark repurchase rate by a quarter point to 7.25 percent, as the slowest inflation since 2009 provides a reason to cut borrowing costs. 11:00 in Mumbai (01:30 EDT).

• European Commission releases its latest economic forecasts for the European Union. European governments are easing up on deficit cuts, Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn said on April 25, rebutting claims that the region's crisis managers are single-mindedly focused on austerity. Time TBD in Brussels.

• U.S. financial overhaul. Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo speaks about financial reforms since 2008 of bank capitalization and leverage, and outlines how the current system would react to a financial shock. 12:30 at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

• Shareholder vote at Occidental Petroleum Corp. Proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis & Co. are advising investors to vote against long-time Chairman Ray Irani at the company's annual meeting. Shareholder support has split between Irani and Chief Executive Officer Stephen I. Chazen after the company announced plans in February to replace Chazen, who became CEO two years ago. 10:30 in Los Angeles (13:30 EDT).

• Economy: U.S. ISM services index (April), U.S. factory orders (March), Brazil industrial production (March), Turkey consumer prices (April).

• Earnings: Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Man Group Plc, Air France-KLM, Adidas AG, Westpac Banking Corp.

Saturday, May 4

• Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual meeting. Buffett and Vice Chairman Charles Munger, 89, take questions for five hours at Omaha's CenturyLink Center. The event has attracted as many as 35,000 people. Buffett has invited investment manager Douglas Kass, a founder of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc., to join the panel of analysts and journalists asking questions along with shareholders. Kass is betting on a decline in Berkshire shares. Buffett, 82, probably will be asked about succession after assigning deputy stock pickers Ted Weschler and Todd Combs to oversee more funds. Doors open at 07:00 (08:00 EDT). The Q&A starts at 09:30 (10:30 EDT).

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