Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

The Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy meeting will be the big deal for global financial markets in the week ahead.

While the U.S. central bank is not expected to take action on interest rates, investors will be watching closely for any commentary regarding the stunning selloff in Treasury markets, which saw the 10-year yield surge above 1.60% to the highest in a year on Friday.

Besides the Fed meeting, U.S. retail sales data will be in focus for further indications on the strength of the reopening rebound.

Meanwhile, in earnings, there are just a few big names set to report their latest financial results, with global economic bellwether FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and athletic apparel giant Nike (NYSE: NKE) likely to draw the most attention.

Elsewhere, monetary policy announcements from the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan will also be on the agenda.

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

  1. Federal Reserve Policy Meeting

The Federal Reserve is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting at 2:00PM ET (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, keeping it in a range between 0.0%-0.25%.

Perhaps of greater importance, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hold what will be a closely watched press conference 30 minutes after the release of the Fed’s statement.

Investors will be looking for clear signs that Powell and fellow policymakers are concerned about the current spike in yields amid mounting inflation expectations.

The U.S. central bank will also release new forecasts for economic growth and interest rates, known as the “dot-plot”.

A repricing of interest rate expectations to anticipate a Fed hike as early as late 2022 is at odds with the Fed’s aim of keeping rates unchanged until the end of 2023.

  1. U.S. Retail Sales

The Commerce Department will release data on retail sales for February on Tuesday at 8:30AM ET (12:30 GMT).

The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales fell 0.6% last month, following January’s surge of 5.3%.

Excluding the automobile sector, core retail sales are expected to drop 0.1%, after climbing 5.9% in the preceding month.

Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy.

Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

In addition to retail sales, this week’s economic calendar also features the latest reports on initial jobless claimsindustrial productionhousing starts, as well as a pair of surveys on manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia and New York regions.

  1. FedEx, Nike Earnings

The fourth-quarter earnings season has all but wound down, however, results are expected from a number of big names in the week ahead, with most of the focus falling on FedEx, and Nike, which both report Thursday after the close.

Other notable companies reporting this week include Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Crowdstrike (NASDAQ: CRWD), Coupa Software (NASDAQ: COUP), PagerDuty (NYSE: PD), and Sundial Growers (NASDAQ: SNDL).

  1. Bank of England Policy Announcement

Across the pond, Governor Andrew Bailey and his fellow interest rate-setters are expected to keep borrowing costs on hold at 0.10% when the Bank of England makes its policy announcement at 8:00AM ET (12:00 GMT) on Thursday.

Economists expect a 9-0 vote by the MPC in favor of leaving rates steady.

Instead, any action such as upping the BoE’s bond-buying firepower is likely to come later in the year – perhaps in May, when the next set of economic forecasts emerge.

  1. Bank of Japan Policy Meeting 

The Bank of Japan, which pioneered yield curve control, is widely expected to keep monetary policy unchanged at its two-day rate review ending on Friday.

However, the central bank will likely insert clearer guidance in its statement on what it sees as an acceptable level of fluctuation in long-term interest rates, according to sources.

BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a press conference afterward to discuss the decision.

Kuroda and his deputy Masayoshi Amamiya have sent mixed messages recently on loosening the 10-year yield target band.

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