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Cyber Monday, Climate Talks, and November Jobs — 5 Things to Know for the Week Ahead

November 29, 2015, 3:48 PM UTC
Operations Inside An Inc. Fulfillment Center Ahead Of Cyber Monday Inc. employees load boxes with orders at the company's fulfillment center.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

The holiday shopping season is in full swing and this week kicks off with one of the biggest days of the year for e-commerce deals. A handful of big retailers will report their quarterly results this week, which will end with a new monthly jobs report that could pave the way for a major interest rate decision from the Fed. Meanwhile, world leaders will gather for global climate talks and the euro region’s central bank will make its own interest rate announcement.

Here’s what you need to know for the week ahead.

1. Cyber Monday

This Monday has become the traditional day for post-Thanksgiving deals online, though retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT) have started posting their e-commerce sales earlier and earlier. Still, more American consumers are likely to kick off the post-holiday week with some online shopping this year, as Cyber Monday spending is expected to increase by as much as 12% compared to last year, to $3 billion, which should help drive overall online spending growth for the holiday shopping months of November and December.

2. November jobs

The first Friday of December will bring the latest look at the U.S. employment picture, as the Labor Department is set to post its November jobs estimates. The government is expected to show that the economy added nearly 200,000 jobs in November, a month after October’s surprising surge of 271,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate likely remained steady at 5%. November’s jobs report is an important one, as it marks the last monthly reading before the Federal Reserve holds its final fiscal policy meeting of the year — one which many economists predict could result in the Fed’s long-awaited interest rate hike.

3. Retail earnings

Discount retailer Dollar General (DG) likely saw a third-quarter sales boost, thanks to the popularity of licensed Star Wars merchandise as well as an expanded line of health and beauty products. But the retailer’s same-store sales are expected to come in below Wall Street’s expectations due to clearances at rival retailer Family Dollar, which sold itself to Dollar Tree (DLTR) earlier this year in a deal that knocked Dollar General out of its top spot among discount retailers.

Meanwhile, teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is expected to beat analysts’ forecasts for third-quarter sales and profit, thanks to strong demand for its namesake brand, while rival retailer Aeropostale (ARO) is expected to report its 12th straight quarterly loss despite increased discounts. Other retailers reporting this week include Land’s End (LE), Barnes & Noble (BKS), and grocery store chain operator Kroger (KR).

4. U.N. Climate talks

The United Nations’ conference on climate change, the UN COP 21, gets underway in Paris on Monday. Several world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, will meet over the course of the two-week conference, which kicks off with opening speeches from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and French President Francoise Hollande. The talks will center around the U.N.’s goal of developing a universal framework for all countries to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming.

5. ECB sets its interest rate

The European Central Bank announces its interest rate decision on Thursday at a time when ECB officials are calling the continent’s economic recovery “fragile.” ECB President Mario Draghi will break down the latest monetary policy for the 19-country euro region after signaling earlier this fall that the central bank may introduce further economic stimulus measures before the end of the year to counteract the region’s sluggish economic recovery.

— Reuters contributed to this post.