© Reuters. Top 5 things to watch this week in financial markets© Reuters. Top 5 things to watch this week in financial markets

Investing.com – Global financial markets will focus on minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting in the week ahead, as they look for fresh clues on the likely trajectory of monetary policy.

Staying in the U.S., a report on durable goods orders will be the highlight of the holiday-shortened week. Markets stateside will remain closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the UK, investors will be looking ahead to a second reading on British growth data for further indications on the continued effect that the Brexit decision is having on the economy.

Meanwhile, market players will eye flash survey data on euro zone business activity to gauge the strength of the region’s economy and to assess how fast the European Central Bank will start unwinding its asset purchase program.

Elsewhere, Japanese trade data will also be in focus as investors assess the health of the world’s third’s largest economy.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Fed FOMC Meeting Minutes

The Federal Reserve will release of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (1900GMT). The U.S. central bank left interest rates unchanged following its meeting on Nov. 1 and signaled it still intended to raise rates in December, as officials noted “solid” economic growth and a tightening labor market.

Besides the minutes, markets will also be watching , when she speaks in New York on Tuesday evening, for any clues on interest rates.

The Fed is scheduled to hold its final policy meeting of the year on Dec. 12-13, with interest rate futures pricing in a 100% chance of a rate hike at that meeting, according to Investing.com’s . For 2018, the Fed is currently forecasting three interest rate hikes, but the markets expect two at most.

2. U.S. Durable Goods Orders

The Commerce Department will publish data on October durable goods orders at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT) Wednesday. The consensus forecast is that the report will show orders for durable goods inched up last month, following a jump of 2.0% in September.

Core orders are forecast to rise , after gaining 0.7% a month earlier.

Besides the durable goods report, this week’s holiday-shortened calendar also features U.S. data on , and revised .

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and Friday will be a half-session day.

Elsewhere, in the stock market, the third-quarter earnings season has wound down, but results are expected from a few retailers, including Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:) on Monday. Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:), Game Stop (NYSE:), Campbell Soup (NYSE:), HP (NYSE:) and Salesforce.com (NYSE:) report Tuesday, while Deere (NYSE:) reports Wednesday.

On the political front, tax reform will likely stay at the forefront, as markets look for any new developments on the . The House approved its version last Thursday, and the Senate bill will be voted on next before the two can be reconciled.

The week ahead also brings Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday season, but analysts say it has lost its importance with online shopping wreaking havoc on traditional retail.

3. UK Q2 GDP – Second Estimate

The Office for National Statistics is to produce a second estimate on UK economic growth for the second quarter at 0930GMT (4:30AM ET) on Thursday.

The report is forecast to confirm the economy grew in the three months ended Sept. 30. On a year-over-year basis, the economy is forecast to grow by , also unchanged from an initial estimate.

The second reading will include a breakdown of .

Ahead of the GDP report, British finance minister Philip Hammond will deliver on Wednesday, likely the last full spending and tax plan before the terms of Brexit are hammered out.

The Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in more than ten years earlier this month, but said it sees only gradual rises ahead as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

Politics is also likely to be in focus, as market participants keep an ear out for any news regarding the ongoing .

4. Flash Euro Zone PMIs

The euro zone is to publish preliminary data on and for November at 0900GMT (4:00AM ET) on Thursday, amid expectations for a modest decline.

Ahead of the euro zone PMI’s, and will release their own PMI reports at 0800GMT and 0830GMT respectively.

In addition to the PMI data, there is also a survey on from the IFO Institute on Friday.

On the central bank front, is due to testify on the economy and monetary policy before the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels at around 1400GMT (9AM ET) on Monday.

The ECB last month said it would cut its bond purchases in half from January, but extended the program until the end of September and left the door open to backtracking, citing muted price pressures.

5. Japan Trade Data

Japan’s Statistics Bureau will publish October trade figures at 8:50AM Tokyo time on Monday (2350 GMT Sunday).

Exports are forecast to have grown from the same period a year ago, which would mark the 11th monthly increase in a row, led by robust demand for cars and electronics manufacturing equipment as the world’s third-largest economy continues its recovery.

Imports likely rose last month, the fastest pace of growth since January 2014, as higher oil prices inflate import costs.

The trade balance likely stood at ($2.93 billion) in October, narrowing from a revised 667.7 billion yen in September.

The Bank of Japan last month pushed back the timing for achieving its 2% inflation target, reinforcing expectations that it will lag other central banks in tightening monetary policy.

Stay up-to-date on all of this week’s economic events by visiting: http://www.investing.com/economic-calendar/