Facebook News Feed Headlines The Week Ahead

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Facebook unveils a new look for its popular “newsfeed”, the latest move by the Web company to revamp key elements of its popular social network. Facebook will showcase the newsfeed makeover at a media event on Thursday at its California headquarters, the second high-profile product event this year, following the rollout of its social search feature in January.

With the earnings season behind them, executives begin to travel to conferences to talk about the future with investors and analysts. Health care companies including Cardinal Health, Celgene and Eli Lilly, are expected to speak at the Cowen Health Care Conference, which runs from Monday through Wednesday in Boston. Comcast, Verizon, Viacom, CBS and Time Warner executives speak on Monday at a Deutsche Bank media conference in Palm Beach, Florida, that runs through Wednesday. Also Exxon Mobil and Honeywell host meetings with analysts on Wednesday.

A slim schedule of quarterly earnings reports includes Transocean on Monday, Bank of Nova Scotia on Tuesday, Staples and Big Lots on Wednesday, Kroger and Smithfield on Thursday, and Foot Locker on Friday.

The Bank of Canada is seen as all but certain to hold its benchmark interest rate steady at its scheduled policy announcement on Wednesday, so investors will focus on any changes to the hawkish language that has differentiated it from every other Group of Seven central bank. A string of unexpectedly weak data, which culminated in fourth-quarter growth numbers on Friday that were below the bank’s forecast, have fueled speculation it will alter its policy statement to make clear that a long-discussed interest rate hike is still far in the future. Employment data out on Friday is expected to reinforce growth concerns, with the economy projected to have added just 8,000 net new jobs in February.

On Thursday, several top U.S. chains such as Costco, TJX Cos, Nordstrom and Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands report February sales that may reflect how much impact the delay in tax refunds and the spike in payroll taxes is having on U.S. consumers. While the index will no longer include major names like Target and Macy’s, the 15 companies left run the gamut of discount to high end, and will give a read on consumer mood.

Lastly,Fox, owned by News Corp, is set to unveil its new sports cable networks in New York in a bid to take on market leader ESPN and grab market share in all the critical live cable sports markets. The networks are chasing the big advertising dollars that flow into live sports programming, plus monthly subscription fees paid by cable operators that are far higher than those for other channels. News Corp’s top executives will be presenting the channels on Tuesday at events for press and advertisers in Manhattan.

 

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