Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will give half-yearly testimony to U.S. congressional committees about the outlook for the world’s largest economy.
U.S. automatic budget cuts totaling $1.2 trillion may begin to take effect unless President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress agree on a compromise.
Chinese February manufacturing data will indicate if that nation’s economy continued to recover from a slowdown. South Korea will inaugurate its first female president.
Pope Benedict XVI will retire at the Vatican.
MONDAY, FEB. 25
--Mobile World Congress. The GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the wireless industry’s biggest annual gathering, where the latest gadgets are presented and executives meet to discuss the year’s top themes. Major topics are likely to be a new push for phone-market consolidation, a rush to sell lower- cost handsets into emerging markets and an intensifying battle for the lead among operating systems developed by Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Speakers will include Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs, NTT DoCoMo CEO Kaoru Kato, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann, as well as executives from Google, Microsoft, RIM, Huawei, ZTE and Samsung. Today through Thursday, Feb. 28.
--China manufacturing activity preliminary reading for February released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. The purchasing managers’ index was at 52.3 in January, a two-year high. 09:45 in Beijing (02/24 20:45 EST).
--U.S. bond auctions. The Treasury Department is scheduled to sell $99 billion of notes over three days. The $35 billion two- year note sale today will be followed by $35 billion of five- year securities on Feb. 26 and $29 billion of seven-year debt on Feb. 27. U.S government bonds have lost 1 percent this year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s U.S. Treasury Index.
--Italy sells bonds. 11:00 in Rome (05:00 EST).
--South Korea’s Park Geun Hye is sworn in as the first woman president of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy in a ceremony to be held in parliament. Park will face challenges that include rising household debt and a strengthening won as she starts her single five-year term. 09:00 in Seoul (2/24 19:00 EST).
--European Central Bank Governing Council member Jens Weidmann speaks at an event on “Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Dancing Too Close.” 16:30 in Paris (10:30 EST).
--Bank of Canada Governor and Bank of England Governor-designate Mark Carney speaks on “Rebuilding Trust in Banking” at Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business. 11:55 EST in London, Ontario. Press conference at 13:15 EST.
--European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen speaks at an event hosted by Deutscher Sparkassen - und Giroverband. 19:00 in Berlin (13:00 EST).
--U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is questioned by the Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission. 15:45 in London (10:45 EST).
--The Dutch Council of State Court is set to rule on the nationalization of SNS Reaal NV on Feb. 1 after investors appealed the expropriation. The ruling is binding. 16:00 in The Hague (10:00 EST).
--BP Gulf-spill liability trial. A civil trial starts over the liability of BP Plc, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The judge hearing the case without a jury will decide how damages, which are likely to total billions of dollars, should be split among the three companies. The specific amount of damages owed will be decided later. 08:00 at U.S. District in New Orleans (09:00 EST).
--The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress begins a three-day meeting to prepare for the annual session of the legislature that will see Xi Jinping become president and Li Keqiang premier as the country’s once-a-decade leadership transition concludes. In Beijing. Timing to be determined.
--Singapore budget. Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam may introduce measures to force companies to further reduce their reliance on foreign labor in the 2013 budget after a public backlash against the influx of workers. To counter any labor shortfall, there may be incentives to boost productivity. 15:30 in Singapore (02:30 EST).
--ECONOMY: Israel central bank interest-rate decision, Chicago Fed National Activity (January), Argentina industrial output (January).
--EARNINGS: Lowe’s Cos Inc.
TUESDAY, FEB. 26
--Bernanke speaks to U.S. Congress. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver his semiannual testimony on monetary policy to the Senate Banking Committee. Bernanke said on Feb. 15 that the economy is “far from the fully healthy and vibrant conditions that we would like to see.” 10:00 in Washington. Bernanke speaks before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
--U.S. new-home sales probably climbed in January at the second- fastest pace in almost three years, according to a Bloomberg survey, indicating that residential real estate will keep bolstering the expansion. The Commerce Department reports at 10:00 in Washington. Home prices in 20 U.S. cities probably rose 6.6 percent in December from a year earlier, the biggest increase since July 2006. The S&P/Case-Shiller index is released at 09:00 in New York.
--Hagel Senate vote. The U.S. Senate is likely to approve former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense, succeeding Leon Panetta, ending a contentious nominating process that divided both parties. Only 51 votes will be needed to confirm Hagel. Timing to be determined.
--JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and senior executives speak at the bank’s annual Investor Day conference. The seven-hour event probably will include presentations from corporate and investment-bank co-CEOs Daniel Pinto and Mike Cavanagh, Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake, Consumer and Community Banking co-CEO Gordon Smith and Card Services CEO Eileen Serra. 08:30 at the JPMorgan headquarters in New York.
--U.S. bank, thrift earnings. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Martin Gruenberg announces the agency’s report on bank and thrift earnings for the fourth quarter and 2012. He also will update the agency’s list of problem lenders at heightened risk of failure. Announcement, press conference at 10:00 in Washington.
--Financial benchmarks. Staff members of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the International Organization of Securities Commissioners hold a public meeting to discuss the “Financial Benchmarks” report, which outlines ways to overhaul scandal-plagued benchmarks such as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. 13:00 in Washington.
--Iran nuclear talks. Kazakhstan hosts talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 to discuss Iran’s nuclear work after the U.S. offered to negotiate directly with the Islamic Republic. The meeting will be the first talks since the breakdown of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 -- which includes China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. -- last June in Moscow. The P5+1 will make a substantial and serious offer to Iran to resolve the dispute, a Western diplomat said on Feb. 20.
--U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides by today whether to approve a breast-cancer therapy developed by Roche Holding AG and ImmunoGen Inc. that more narrowly targets the disease. The therapy, called T-DM1, treats a metastatic breast cancer and is supposed to be more effective than other therapies with fewer side effects. In Washington. Time to be determined.
--Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega speaks to investors about energy and infrastructure projects in Latin America’s largest economy. Investment in Brazil has fallen for five straight quarters through last September. 09:15 at The Westin New York Grand Central Hotel. Other government officials speaking at the all-day event include Marco Antônio Martins Almeida, Secretary for Oil and Gas. 09:00 to 18:00 in New York.
--U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether dozens of states are violating the Constitution by collecting DNA samples from people when they are arrested in an effort to link them to unsolved crimes. The ruling will be the court’s first on the level of privacy Americans can expect for their genetic information. 11:00 in Washington.
--BOE testimony. Bank of England Deputy Governors Charles Bean and Paul Tucker as well as policy makers David Miles and Ian McCafferty speak before Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee on the Bank of England’s Inflation Report. 10:00 in London (05:00 EST).
--Hungary’s central bank will probably cut its benchmark interest rate for a seventh consecutive month to 5.25 percent, matching a record low, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Announcement at 14:00 in Budapest (08:00 EST), followed by Magyar Nemzeti Bank President Andras Simor’s press conference.
--ECONOMY: U.S. Conference Board consumer confidence (February), U.K. CBI retail sales (February), France jobless claims (January), South Africa GDP (fourth quarter).
--EARNINGS: Home Depot Inc., Tenet Healthcare Corp., Macy’s Inc., Priceline.com Inc., BASF SE, QBE Insurance Group Ltd., Bank of East Asia Ltd.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27
--Apple Inc. annual meeting. Shareholders were scheduled to vote today on a measure that would require their approval before Apple’s board can issue a new class of preferred shares. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital Inc. on Feb. 22 won a court order blocking the vote. Meeting starts at 09:00 in Cupertino, California (12:00 EST).
--European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speaks at an event at the Katholische Akademie in Bayern. 18:30 in Munich (12:30 EST).
--Italy sells bonds. 11:00 in Rome (05:00 EST).
--The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the 1965 Voting Rights Act is still necessary to ensure ballot access for blacks in regions with a history of racism. Shelby County, Alabama, is suing to be freed from the act’s requirement that the federal government must approve any changes in election districts, voting rules or location of polling places. 10:00 in Washington.
--Hong Kong budget. Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang will present the budget for the upcoming fiscal year to the city’s Legislative Council. Tsang may announce one-time measures including income-tax reduction, public housing rent waivers and electricity subsidies. The government also will release 2012 GDP data. The economy may have grown 1.4 percent, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, the slowest rate of increase since 2009. 11:00 in Hong Kong. (2/26 22:00 EST).
--European Central Bank Executive Board member Peter Praet speaks at the Institutional Money Congress 2013. 09:30 in Frankfurt (03:30 EST).
--European Central Bank Governing Council member Yves Mersch delivers keynote speech at Finanzplatztag. 15:00 in Frankfurt (09:00 EST).
--U.S. court ruling on Argentina bonds. A U.S. federal appeals court will hear arguments from Argentina and hedge funds including Paul Singer’s NML Capital Ltd. Hedge funds will argue that the appeals court should uphold a previous ruling that the funds be paid the full $1.33 billion face value and accrued interest of defaulted government bonds. Argentina argues a decision forcing payment would damage international financial transactions and future sovereign-debt restructurings. The dispute has pushed Argentina’s credit default swaps to the world’s highest. 14:00 in New York.
--Pope Benedict XVI holds the last general audience of his pontificate in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City. 10:30 local time (04:30 EST). Thursday, Feb. 28 is his last day as Pope.
--South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presents three- year budget plan to Parliament. In Cape Town. Timing to be determined.
--Filling Kerry’s U.S. Senate seat. Massachusetts U.S. Senate hopefuls must submit by 17:00 at least 10,000 signatures for their names to appear on the April 30 primary ballot for the special election to replace Democrat John Kerry, who left his seat to become Secretary of State. Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch are leading Democratic contenders while the best- known Republican candidate is ex-Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez. Primary winners face off June 25.
--ECONOMY: U.S. durable goods orders (January), Euro-area economic confidence (February), German GfK consumer confidence (March), South Korea consumer confidence (February), South Korea current account (January).
--EARNINGS: Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Target Corp., J.C. Penney Co., Limited Brands Inc., Groupon Inc., Dollar Tree Inc., H.J. Heinz. Co., Vale SA, EADS, Esprit Holdings Ltd., Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., China Vanke Co., United Overseas Bank Ltd.
THURSDAY, FEB. 28
--U.S. GDP probably expanded at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter as the trade deficit narrowed, according to a Bloomberg survey, compared with the Commerce Department’s initial estimate on Jan. 30 that the economy contracted by 0.1 percent. 08:30 in Washington.
--Indian fourth-quarter GDP and government budget. India’s fourth-quarter economic growth probably slowed to 4.9 percent from a year earlier, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2009. Also today, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram will present the government’s budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1 and has pledged to bolster revenue and curb spending to narrow the widest fiscal deficit in major emerging nations. Both 11:00 in New Delhi (0:30 EST).
--European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio speaks at the annual conference of the Centre for European Policy Studies on “The Three Unions: From banking to economic to political.” 11:00 in Brussels (05:00 EST).
--European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, European Central Bank Executive Board member Peter Praet and French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici speak at European Competition Forum. European Commission conference focuses on growth and competitiveness, with a particular focus on how state intervention through regulatory measures or state aid can help or hinder growth. 09:15 in Brussels (03:15 EST).
--Hostess Brands Inc. will sell its Wonder and Beefsteak brands of bread to Flowers Foods Inc. or the highest bidder. Flowers Foods made a lead bid of $360 million for assets including the Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride and Nature’s Pride brands. It bid $30 million for Beefsteak. Remaining Hostess assets will be sold at future auctions. In New York. Times of sales to be determined.
--Bank of Japan board member Takahide Kiuchi gives a press conference after a discussion with business leaders. Kiuchi, along with fellow board member Takehiro Sato, opposed the introduction of a 2% inflation target at the BOJ’s January meeting. 10:30 in Yokohama (2/27 20:30 EST).
--European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore speak at a conference on the future of Europe. 14:30 in London (09:30 EST).
--U.K. Parliamentary special election. A special election to replace former Liberal Democratic Member of Parliament Chris Huhne, who retired after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice over a speeding ticket.
--Commander of U.S. Forces Japan Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella gives a briefing at which he may discuss the possibility of conflict between Japan and China over islands claimed by both countries. The U.S. doesn’t take a position on the sovereignty of the islands although it says they fall under a mutual defense treaty. 12:00 in Tokyo (2/27 22:00 EST)
--ECONOMY: U.S. initial jobless claims (weekly), Chicago purchasing manager’s index (February), Japan industrial production (January), South Korea industrial production (January), German unemployment (February), Euro-area inflation (February, estimate), German state inflation (February), U.K. consumer confidence (February), Chile retail sales (January).
--EARNINGS: Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Gap Inc., Best Buy Co., Salesforce.com Inc., Deutsche Telekom AG, Telefonica SA, Woolworths Ltd., IHH Healthcare Bhd., Noble Group Ltd.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1
--U.S. automatic budget cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over nine years begin today if President Barack Obama, Democrats and Republicans in Congress fail to agree on a compromise. The across-the-board cuts would total $85 billion through September and be split almost evenly between defense and non-defense programs such as education, food-safety inspections, air-traffic control and small-business loans. Although Congress averted automatic cuts, also called sequestration, initially set for Jan. 1, Republicans and Democrats remain divided over taxes and whether to raise the $16.4 trillion debt limit.
--Berkshire Hathaway Inc. earnings and annual letter to shareholders. Warren Buffett is likely to release his annual letter to shareholders as the company reports fourth-quarter earnings. Berkshire’s insurance units may be hurt by costs from Hurricane Sandy. Berkshire closed at a record high on Feb. 14 after the company and 3G Capital agreed to buy H.J. Heinz Inc. for $23 billion. After 16:00 EST in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett chairs Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting in Omaha on May 4.
--China releases manufacturing activity index for February. The purchasing managers’ index was at 50.4 in January, compared with 50.6 in December, after the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing more than tripled the number of companies surveyed. 09:00 in Beijing (02/28 20:00 EST).
--HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics release a separate survey on Chinese manufacturing for February, after an initial reading on Feb. 25. 09:45 in Beijing (02/28 20:45 EST).
--San Francisco: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks on “Low Long-Term Interest Rates” at a San Francisco Fed Research Conference titled “The Past and Future of Monetary Policy.” 7 p.m. San Francisco time; 10 p.m. Washington time.
--U.S. personal spending climbed in January for a third consecutive month, according to a Bloomberg survey, indicating Americans are looking beyond an increase in federal payroll taxes that sapped incomes. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. The Commerce Department reports at 8:30 in Washington.
--U.S. manufacturing probably expanded in February for a third straight month, though it grew at a slower pace than the previous month. The Institute for Supply Management releases data at 10:00 in New York.
--Japan consumer prices for January. Core CPI has fallen for seven of the last eight months as the Bank of Japan sets a 2% inflation target and the government pushes for more monetary easing to end deflation. 08:30 in Tokyo (2/28 18:30 EST).
--Brazil GDP probably rose 1 percent in 2012, according to a Bloomberg survey, which would be the worst performance among Latin America’s seven biggest economies, and also the worst compared to BRIC members China, India and Russia. 09:00 in Rio de Janeiro (07:00 EST).
--Canada GDP. The government may report annualized fourth- quarter growth trailed the Bank of Canada’s forecast of 1 percent, capping the worst six-month period since the 2009 recession after factory orders, wholesale trade and international trade missed forecasts. 08:30 EST in Ottawa.
--Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks at the inauguration of the 2013 Congress, an event that’s similar to the U.S. president’s State of the Union. Her speech may touch on inflation, union wage negotiations, moves to bolster the slowing economy, and Argentina’s legal dispute with U.S. hedge funds. 11:00 in Buenos Aires (9:00 EST).
--German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends regional conference of her Christian Democrats in Greifswald, Mecklenburg. Timing to be determined.
--ECONOMY: University of Michigan U.S. consumer confidence (February, final), Japan unemployment (January), U.K. mortgage approvals (January), U.K. CIPS manufacturing (February), Chile central bank minutes.
--EARNINGS: Lloyds Banking Group Plc.
--PGA tour. The first round of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. 07:00 at National Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Last year’s winner was Rory McIlroy.
SATURDAY, MARCH 2
--ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure speaks on “Beyond Crisis Management: Building Growth and Stability in the Eurozone” at the European Conference at Harvard University. 14:00 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
--The spokesman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the main advisory body to China’s legislature, is likely to hold a briefing to outline Chinese government priorities for the year. In previous years, the spokesman has said the time wasn’t right for officials to disclose their assets and revealed that a deputy to former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai was under investigation. Time not set, Beijing.
--2013 World Baseball Classic. Defending champion Japan meets Brazil in the first round at 05:00 EST in Fukuoka, Japan. Sixteen teams are competing to play in the championship game at 20:00 EST on March 19 in San Francisco.
--2013 Iditarod. The annual sled dog race starts at 10:00 in Anchorage, Alaska (14:00 EST). Mushers and dog teams will race to Nome, Alaska, on the state’s western coast, which typically takes nine to 14 days to complete.
Note to our readers: Click on blue ECONOMY headline at bottom of each day for access to Bloomberg’s complete global economic calendar.
--Editors: Nancy Moran, Mike Millard.