Business Lookahead: Rate hikes, earnings finale

STORY: From another week of rate hikes, to a grand finale for U.S. earnings season...

these are the business and finance stories to watch out for in the days ahead.

The Federal Reserve is expected to do another quarter-point rate hike on Wednesday.

Futures markets say an increase is 90% likely.

But some traders think policymakers will also then signal a pause in the most aggressive rate-hike cycle since the 1980s.

The ECB is widely expected to hike rates by the same amount.

But inflation and bank lending data could yet sway the decision.

Hawks say easing tensions over the banking sector mean conditions are ripe for a bigger increase.

U.S. earnings season reaches a crescendo on Thursday with numbers from Apple.

The country’s biggest firm by market capitalization has led the U.S. stock rally this year.

But analysts expect to see its revenues slide by more than 4%.

Australia’s central bank is now not expected to do another rate increase.

That, after consumer price data came in softer than expected.

The outlook has seen the Aussie dollar wilt against rivals.

And figures on house prices and car sales will gauge the health of UK households.

Data from the Bank of England will also show whether Britons continue to load up on credit card debt.

With interest rates high, lenders expect rising rates of default on consumer credit, mortgages, and corporate loans.