Fresh inflation figures and big banks’ first-quarter earnings reports headline data for this week. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation data for March comes in on Wednesday, with Federal Reserve officials keeping a close eye on prices as they weigh future interest rate cuts. Several Fed officials will deliver remarks during the week. Market watchers will also be able to review Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes and the Michigan consumer sentiment survey results this week. Earnings season for the 2024 first quarter will formally kick off this week when a group of the nation’s biggest banks report financial results, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citigroup (C).

Bank Reports Kick Off First-Quarter Earnings
Financial reports from the 2024 first quarter will begin to roll in this week, culminating Friday with a blitz of bank earnings spotlighting a sector that indicated some weakness at the end of 2023. Investors will be looking to JPMorgan Chase’s earnings Friday to see if the largest U.S. bank will continue to bring in high levels of net interest income after its report last quarter of a 19% jump to $24.1 billion. In its last earnings report, Wells Fargo projected that it could report a drop in interest income in 2024, based on projections of Federal Reserve rate cuts at some point this year.

BlackRock’s report comes after it announced it was expanding into the infrastructure sector through a $12.5 billion acquisition of Global Infrastructure Partners. Amid its restructuring effort, Citigroup’s earnings will show whether it continues to struggle with expenses after it reported a $1.8 billion loss in the prior quarter. On Wednesday, Delta Air Lines will report results for its March quarter, coming after analysts at Morgan Stanley recently named the carrier as one of its top stock picks for 2024. Corona beer maker Constellation Brands reports on Thursday, while WD-40 and marijuana distributor Tilray Brands deliver earnings reports on Tuesday.

Also this week, healthcare provider PACS Groups and product testing firm UL Solutions are each expected to price initial public offerings (IPOs).

CPI Reading To Show Latest Inflation Trends
After a couple of months of elevated readings, investors will be tuned in for the Wednesday release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), giving economists their first look at inflation in March. Higher gas and housing prices pushed the CPI higher in February, and the wholesale-focused Producer Price Index (PPI) showed signals that prices could remain elevated.  The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures index, also ticked higher in February. Continued upward movement in inflation could make Federal Reserve officials more hesitant to cut interest rates.

Following the midweek CPI release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue the March PPI report on Thursday, in which wholesale prices can give economists clues on where consumer prices are headed.

Also inflation-related, Friday’s Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will show how households are viewing future price changes, which can help influence Fed action on interest rates.

Throughout the week, several Federal Reserve officials will deliver remarks, including Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, and San Francisco Fed President Mary C. Daly. Investors will also be watching the Wednesday afternoon release of the FOMC meeting minutes, which will provide more insight into how Fed members are viewing the economy. On Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) will report results from its small business owner survey.