Hello friends and Fortune readers.
This week, all eyes will be on the U.S. Labor Department’s Friday release of July employment numbers, as an especially strong showing for the country’s workforce could be seen as further proof that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September. This week also brings a look at Disney’s most recent fiscal quarter, which should be buoyed by a few strong showings at the box-office. In addition to other major companies’ quarterly earnings, the Greek stock market starts trading again this week after a long layoff, and viewers will get their popcorn ready for the first Republican presidential debate, starring “The Donald.”
Here’s what you need to know to start your week.
1. July employment numbers
U.S. markets will be watching Friday’s monthly employment report closely after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said she wants to see at least “some” improvement in the nation’s job growth before the central bank implements its long-anticipated interest rate hike, which could come as soon as next month. The U.S. Labor Department is expected to report on Friday that the economy added 222,000 new jobs in July, with the unemployment rate staying flat at 5.3%.
2. Fairy-tale earnings for Disney?
It’s been a blockbuster year for Walt Disney’s film division and the success of films like The Avengers: Age of Ultron should help boost third-quarter earnings for the “Mouse House” on Tuesday. Disney (DIS) is expected to beat Wall Street’s expectations for quarterly profits, with the summer season meaning higher revenue from the company’s parks and resorts unit. One area of concern is Disney’s cable channels business, which includes ESPN and has been hurt by the cord-cutting trend, much like the rest of the industry. And Disney isn’t the only media giant reporting quarterly earnings this week, with CBS Corp. (CBS), 21st Century Fox (FOX), and Discovery Communications (DISCA) also posting their latest results.
3. Earnings bonanza
The quarterly earnings bonanza continues this week, with the country’s second-largest drugstore company, CVS Health (CVS) reporting second-quarter numbers on Tuesday. CVS is expected to beat analysts’ expectations in terms of revenue, though the company’s sales growth has taken a hit since it halted sales of tobacco products last year. Health insurer Aetna (AET) also reports second-quarter results on Tuesday. The company recently announced an agreement to buy smaller rival Humana (HUM) in a $37 billion deal that represents the latest example of consolidation in the health insurance industry. Other companies reporting earnings this week include Dish Network (DISH), Sprint (S), cereal company Kellog (K), Molson Coors Brewing (TAP), and video game maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI).
4. Greek stocks
Greece’s stock market reopens on Monday after being closed for more than a month. The Athens stock exchange will open with restrictions for domestic investors amid grueling negotiations between Greece’s leaders and its euro zone creditors over the troubled country’s proposed third bailout. Meanwhile, Ukraine is also looking to reach an agreement with its creditors this week. The Eastern European nation sees the end of this week as the “absolute last deadline” for a debt restructuring deal with bondholders led by the International Monetary Fund.
5. First Republican presidential debate
Here we go . . . The massive field of Republican presidential hopefuls gathers in Cleveland on Thursday with the idea being that they will face off in a few rounds earnest, thoughtful political discourse. Of course, many of the people tuning into the first Republican debate of the 2016 election cycle will be looking for something a bit more … lively. That’s to be expected with billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump leading all contenders in the polls despite making headlines not only by taking frequent jabs at his rivals (like calling Senator Lindsey Graham “an idiot”) but also for disparaging comments he has made about Mexicans, the latter of which resulted in a number of corporate partners cutting ties with Trump.
—Reuters contributed to this report.