Following a week in which the Federal Reserve raised more questions about the timing of interest rate adjustments, investors will hear from more than a half-dozen Fed officials through the week as they give insight into the Fed’s thinking and what recent economic reports mean for future action from the central bank. Also, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify to Congress on U.S. financial stability.
Earnings reports will continue throughout the week, with several consumer, health-care, and energy companies set to provide their quarterly updates. Reports from Unilever PLC, McDonald’s, and PepsiCo will show U.S. consumer strength, while Ford and Honda Motor Co. earnings will provide insight into the auto industry. Eli Lilly & Co., Amgen Inc., and AstraZeneca PLC are among the pharmaceutical firms set to report, while ConocoPhillips Co. and BP PLC will highlight energy companies reporting this week.
A light week of economic indicators begins with the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Monday providing insight into bank lending conditions. Investors will also get updates on the U.S. trade deficit, consumer credit, and wholesale inventories. On Friday, the week concludes with the annual update of seasonal factors for the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which could result in adjustments to previously released CPI numbers.
Consumer, Energy, Health Firms’ Earnings Highlight Release Schedule
With few major economic reports set for release this week, investors will be turning their attention to corporate earnings. Earnings reports from McDonald’s (MCD), PepsiCo (PEP), and soap-maker Unilever (UL) are likely to provide insight into the strength of consumer spending, according to a note from a Deutsche Bank team led by research analyst Galina Pozdnyakova, while earnings from ConocoPhillips (COP) and BP (BP) will be watched to see if they match other strong reports from oil companies for the latest quarter. Many investors will be eyeing Wednesday’s earnings from Disney (DIS) and paying particular attention as to whether the media giant can continue its trend of subscriber growth at its Disney+ streaming service, as well as listening for other updates to CEO Bob Iger’s restructuring efforts. Construction-equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT) can give indications about overall economic conditions with its earnings report on Monday, which comes after it gave a cautious outlook for its fourth-quarter report, citing a lower number of back orders.
Investors also will be looking for tech and pharmaceutical earnings, Deutsche Bank noted, with Eli Lilly (LLY), Amgen (AMGN), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and AstraZeneca (AZN) on deck to issue quarterly financial reports. Earnings from Palantir (PLTR) will demonstrate whether the company can continue to drive revenue from artificial intelligence (AI), while reports from ON Semiconductor (ON) and Arm Holdings (ARM) will show whether demand for chips remains hot.
Fed Speakers, Treasury Secretary To Discuss Current Economic Conditions
After the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and Chairman Jerome Powell said a rate rate cut at the Fed’s next meeting in March was not likely as officials look for more evidence that inflation is under control, market watchers will hear from a line-up of central bank officials on their thoughts about the direction of interest rates. As economic data continues to come in, some Fed officials have made public comments seeking to lower anticipation over imminent rate cuts, while meeting minutes show officials have been divided over when to begin cutting rates. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will start things off with remarks on Monday, followed on Tuesday by scheduled talks from Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester at 12 p.m. ET, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari at 1 p.m. ET, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker at 7 p.m. ET.
Wednesday is another full schedule as Federal Reserve Gov. Adriana Kugler talks at 11 a.m. ET, Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin speaks at 12:30 p.m. ET, and Fed Gov. Michelle Bowman delivers remarks at 2 p.m. Barkin also speaks on Thursday at 12:05 p.m. ET, addressing the economics clubs of Washington, D.C., and New York on consecutive days. Investors are expecting to hear how recent economic data, like Friday’s strong jobs report, will affect officials’ opinions on future interest-rate decisions, with the next one due on March 20.
Investors will also keep an eye on Friday’s release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of their annual recalculation of seasonal adjustment factors for the consumer price index. This adjustment could result in revisions to previously released CPI numbers. Also this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify before the Senate Banking Committee to deliver the department’s annual report on U.S. financial stability.