This past week was all about mergers and acquisitions – friendly, hostile, rumored and failed. For now, Qantas remains a public company and the fate of its chairwoman, Margaret Jackson, remains uncertain.
M&A mania aside, let’s take a look at what's in store for the rest of the week.
With China making one of the largest oil discoveries of the decade at Bohai Bay this week and Nigeria’s geopolitical turbulence adding fuel to fire, the International Energy Agency will certainly have lots to talk about at its meeting in Paris on Monday. Add Iran’s controversial nuclear program into the mix and it may well turn out to be a combustible meeting and one to watch for.
On Tuesday, Australian investors still reeling from the failed Qantas bid will once again, turn their attention to consortium leader Macquarie Bank as it posts its full year earnings. Analysts are expecting a strong start to the 2008 fiscal year as success breeds success. Carlos Castillo, a senior banking analyst with Commonwealth Securities, says that given the favorable investment market conditions and all the M&A activity at the moment, he expects Macquarie to post a bumper result of US$1.16 billion in the full year.
The week picks up speed come Wednesday, when the Bank of Japan embarks upon its two-day policy meeting. Analysts are predicting that Nikkei 225 favorite Sony Corporation is likely to post solid 2006 full year results. Sony's share price has increased 29% since the beginning of the year and this has added to hopes of a positive forecast. Strong results from its core consumer electronics business might deliver just that.
Also on Wednesday, South Korea releases their April Jobless claims data, while in the U.S., investors will be awaiting industrial production and housing starts data for further signs on whether the U.S. economy is starting to cool.
Thursday will see investors digesting that data while taking in Japan’s third-quarter gross domestic product release. Market estimates are calling for an annualized increase of 2.6% for the January to March period.
Meanwhile, the G4 nations, consisting of U.S., EU, India and Brazil, meet in Brussels in another attempt to reach an agreement in global agricultural trade issues. The four last met in mid-April but failed to close a deal, which has stymied global trade talks since the Doha Development Round was launched in 2001. A full-on resolution is not expected at this juncture, but members are hoping to reach a collective agreement before the next meeting in June.
Here are some company earnings to be released in the workweek ahead:
And that’s the week ahead for Asia. We'll leave you with some special days of note …