Big U.S. Trade Gap Expected, and European Stimulus Plan at Issue

Big U.S. Trade Gap Expected, and European Stimulus Plan at Issue

Here’s what to expect in the week ahead:


Draghi to face questions on stimulus program.

The official reason that Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, is appearing on Monday before the European Parliament is to present the bank’s annual report for 2017. But members of the European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, France, are certain to ask Mr. Draghi the burning question of the moment: When will the central bank end the stimulus program known as quantitative easing? If past experience is any guide, Mr. Draghi will stick to the script he used during a news conference in January. He will emphasize that, even though the eurozone is booming, the central bank will not stop pumping money into the economy until there are more convincing signs that inflation is picking up. Jack Ewing

Trade deficit likely to be highest in years.

The United States Commerce Department on Tuesday will release data for all of 2017 for international trade in goods and services. The data will probably show the trade deficit reaching the highest level in years. President Trump has maligned the trade deficit in goods as a sign of manufacturing job loss and pledged to reduce it. But data released on Tuesday is likely to show that the figure soared last year, as the strong American economy lifted demand for imports. In November, the trade deficit reached a nearly six-year high. Ana Swanson


For first time since Fox deal, Disney to lay out plans.

When the Walt Disney Company reports its earnings on Tuesday afternoon for the quarter that ended in December, Wall Street expects to see per-share profit of roughly $1.61 and revenue of $15.5 billion, each up about 4 percent from the same quarter in 2016. More interesting, however, will be discussion on Disney’s post-earnings conference call with analysts, when Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, will discuss the Magic Kingdom’s state of affairs and plans for its future for the first time since striking a $52.4 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox. Mr. Iger will probably not offer many details about the merger, which government regulators still must approve. But he may discuss the multiple streaming services that Disney is building — and hopes to supersize with Fox assets. Mr. Iger could also mount a defense of the “Star Wars” franchise (the last film flopped in China and took in $612 million in North America, less than some people would have liked) while facing questions about the future leadership of ESPN, where the hunt for a new president is underway. Brooks Barnes

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