Markets are closed on Monday for New Year’s Day. Following the holiday, investors will open 2024 with a slate of economic data, while corporate earnings will resume. The week will start with the latest projection of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) from the Atlanta Federal Reserve, with data also coming on construction spending and factory orders. Market watchers will examine the minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, giving investors insight into the Fed’s most recent interest rate decision. However, the biggest data releases come later in the week, with Friday’s U.S. employment report likely attracting the most attention from investors. Before that, market watchers will also get updates on job openings, initial jobless claims, and private-sector employment. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is the largest company to report earnings in the week ahead, with Conagra Brands Inc. and Constellation Brands Inc. also scheduled to issue earnings this week.

Jobs Report To Give Investors a Look at Labor Market Strength
As investors anticipate Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts in 2024, they will be looking at the strength of the labor market, which has so far helped keep the economy humming despite a string of rate hikes designed to undercut rising inflation. Whether that momentum can keep going in 2024 will depend greatly on the performance of the labor market, about which market watchers will get a string of new employment data this week.

Most prominently, Friday’s employment report will show if employers are able to continue to add jobs to the economy. Before that, investors will get data on job openings on Wednesday, along with initial jobless claims and private-sector payrolls on Thursday. Already, initial jobless claims from last week hinted that job losses could increase.

FOMC Minutes To Give Insight on Rate Cuts’ Timing
After the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged at its latest meeting—while also indicating that rate hikes could be coming—investors get a chance to review the minutes from that meeting when released on Wednesday. The minutes will offer insights into deliberations behind the Dec. 12-13 FOMC meeting. At a press conference after the interest-rate decision, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said members of the committee had begun discussing rate cuts for 2024, so the latest meeting minutes are likely to provide more insight into those discussions and the potential timing of such cuts.

Walgreens To Issue First Earnings Report Under New CEO
Walgreens Boots Alliance, a Dow Jones Industrial Average component, will report earnings on Thursday, one of a handful of companies issuing earnings reports this week. On the heels of a 30% drop in its share price this year, Walgreens’ earnings report will be the first for new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Wentworth, who took over the role in mid-October. In its last earnings report, Walgreens estimated full-year earnings per share of between $3.20 to $3.50, lower than analyst expectations.

Other companies putting out earnings this week include snack food maker Conagra Brands, egg producer Cal-Maine Foods, and beer importer Constellation Brands.