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US EQUITIES WEEK AHEAD: Nike Results; Four Companies May Debut

By Nathalie Tadena Athletic goods-makers Nike Inc. (NKE) and Finish Line Inc. (FINL) are among the companies set to report their latest quarterly results next week. Meanwhile, the initial public offering market heats up next week, with four companies expected to debut. Several economic reports will be released next week, including housing data and readings on consumer confidence, though economists expect data to come in line with previous readings. Quarterly Earnings Due From Nike, Finish Line Nike Inc. (NKE) and Finish Line Inc. (FINL) are slated to issue their latest quarterly reports next week, as the firms aim to give investors more clarity on their position in the athletic apparel and retailing market. Nike, which recently showcased a slate of Olympic gear, is favored by many analysts as the athletic-goods maker is seen benefiting this year from some high-profile sporting events in Europe. Finish Line and other retailers, meanwhile, are seeing strong demand for athletic wares due to a strong product cycle. Shares for both companies have underperformed the S&P 500 so far in 2012. Investors are fretting about Nike's exposure to Europe and China, as both markets have seen more bearish macroeconomic commentary since Nike last reported results, while Finish Line is ramping up spending on new stores and technology in a strategy that will temper near-term bottom line growth. Nike is due to report results on Thursday, with Finish Line's results planned for Friday. Other companies reporting their latest quarterly results next week include tax preparer H&R Block Inc. (HRB), Food maker General Mills Inc. (GIS), agricultural biotech company Monsanto Co. (MON) and consulting firm Accenture PLC (ACN). Four Companies Expected To Debut Next Week A quartet of IPOs is expected in the U.S. next week, as the moribund new-offerings markets looks poised to spring back to life. The four offerings are cloud-based computer-services provider ServiceNow Inc., energy partnership EQT Midstream Partners LP, software firm Exa Corp. and biopharmaceutical firm Tesaro Inc. ServiceNow is seeking to raise $198 million on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NOW;" EQT Midstream wants to sell $263 million through an NYSE listing as "EQM;" Exa is aiming for $81 million on the Nasdaq as "EXA;" and Tesaro is seeking $90 million on the Nasdaq as "TSRO." All four are busy marketing the deals to potential investors in "road shows" over the next week and a half and aim to price before the week of July 4 hits--typically a slow week for deal flow due to extended vacations around that time. Housing Data, Consumer Confidence Readings Due The upcoming flurry of U.S. economic data is broadly expected to come in line with previous readings, underscoring the hindered pace of the country's path to recovery. A faint silver lining comes through in the housing market, however, with home sales in May seen trending higher. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expect sales of new homes to increase to 345,500, from 343,000 in April. This indicator has been range-bound for much of the last two years, but Barclays's economists see these sales increasing as inventory levels get leaner. Pending homes sales are also expected to bounce back after falling 5.5% in April. The expectation for May is a 1.5% month-on-month increase. Meanwhile, the S&P/Case-Shiller index may provide more evidence of home prices bottoming out. Economists see a 2.2% drop from last year as of April, cutting into the 2.6% drop reported for March. Beyond the housing market, the rest of next week's indicators may prove lackluster. Hopes for a consumer-led recovery will have to wait, as the recent run of discouraging job-market reports are seen keeping spirits in check. Economists see the Conference Board's consumer confidence number coming in at 63, from 64.9 last month. The Reuters/University of Michigan read on consumer sentiment is seen steady at 74.1. EU Leaders to Meet Thursday and Friday European Union leaders will meet June 28 and June 29 in Brussels, the latest meeting to discuss solutions to the region's debt crisis. Earlier Friday, Italy, France, Spain and Germany agreed to push European leaders at a key summit next week to sign off on a EUR130 billion ($163 billion) plan aimed at increasing growth in Europe's beleaguered economies. The agreement, made during a summit in Rome, is a victory for the leaders of Italy, France and Spain, which have for months been trying to convince Germany, Europe's strongest economy, that a concerted plan to boost growth in the region is needed to offset the wave of austerity measures countries are taking to fight the debt crisis. Spain to Request Aid Monday; Eyes Funding for Banks Spain's government said Friday it plans to make its official request for European Union aid for its banking sector Monday, and expects to have the terms for such aid set by July 9, as discussions continue on ways to inject European aid funds directly into ailing Spanish banks. Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said that pumping money directly into banks, which would seek to break the current link between banking and sovereign risks that helped push the country's financing costs to record highs earlier this week, "is definitely a possibility." These comments indicate that direct injections of capital from the European Union bailout funds, which appeared to be all but ruled out days ago, have returned to the discussion table despite opposition from Germany--the euro zone's paymaster--and other northern European countries. This is important because observers say that injections via Spain's government could drive Spanish sovereign debt to dangerous levels. Conferences Among the significant conferences next week are the Global Hunter Securities 100 Energy Conference Sunday through Tuesday in San Francisco; the Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. Consumer Conference Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston; and the Credit Suisse Basic Materials Conference Wednesday and Thursday in Boston. Write to Nathalie Tadena at nathalie.tadena@dowjones.com -John Kell, Lynn Cowan, Cynthia Lin, David Roman, Patricia Kowsmann, Giada Zampano, Susannn Kreutzmann and Dow Jones Newswires staff contributed to this report.

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