Week Ahead on Wall Street: Different Textures

By: Mario Ismailanji · April 02, 2024 · Reading Time: 5 minutes

Full-Course Meal

A new quarter and month is upon us, as is the unofficial start of spring. Flowers are blooming and warmer weather is fast approaching, yet despite all that real-life excitement the current market backdrop feels… dare we say it? Boring. But even though there has been a lack of major economic surprises, and earnings season is over, there’s always something coming down the pike. This week is no exception, so let’s see what’s on the menu.

To start things off, we’ll be getting some soft data in the form of activity surveys as well as other lower octane releases, such as factory orders and job openings. These sorts of anecdotes and data points can help provide color to the current business environments. Moreover, releases like manufacturing and services PMI surveys also have components on the future outlook, which are important for forward-looking investors.

If the week’s initial data releases are the appetizer, Fedspeak might be the entrée. No fewer than 19 different public appearances for Fed officials are on deck this week, and not only are two-thirds of FOMC officials set to speak, but an unusually high portion of these appearances will specifically focus on the economic outlook.

And last, there’s dessert. For markets, dessert is served Friday — jobs day. Given employment is one component of the Fed’s dual mandate to achieve maximum employment and price stability, any surprises on Friday could shake things up meaningfully: A hot report would probably cause more investors to talk about up the possibility of no rate cuts this year, while an unexpectedly weak report could set the stage for a June rate cut, if not earlier.

Economic and Earnings Calendar


•   March ISM Manufacturing PMI: This index from the Institute for Supply Management tracks how purchasing managers across the manufacturing sector feel about the business environment.

•   February Construction Spending: Construction data is a leading indicator of business activity.

•   Fedspeak: Fed Governor Lisa Cook will give acceptance remarks for a lifetime achievement award from the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.


•   February Job Openings: A key measure of business demand for labor is the number of job openings, since reducing openings is easier and preferable to layoffs.

•   February Factory and Durable Goods Orders: These metrics give insight into underlying trends for leading cyclical indicators.

•   March Wards Total Vehicle Sales: Cars are a big ticket item for consumers, so underlying vehicle sales trends can help shine a light on demand for durable goods.

•   Fedspeak: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will speak on what M&A transactions mean for the future of the banking system. New York Fed President John Williams will moderate a discussion at the Economic Club of New York. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will discuss the economic outlook. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will take part in a fireside chat.

•   Earnings: Paychex (PAYX)


•   March ADP Employment Report: This survey, released by ADP and usually released a day or two before the official government jobs report, offers insight into private sector employment trends.

•   March ISM Services PMI: This index, released by the Institute for Supply Management, tracks how purchasing managers across different services industries feel about the business environment.

•   Weekly Mortgage Applications: Mortgage activity gives insight on demand conditions in the housing market.

•   Fedspeak: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will discuss bank liquidity, regulation, and the Fed’s role as the lender of last resort. Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will deliver opening remarks at a virtual event. Fed Chair Jerome Powell will discuss the economic outlook. Fed Governor and Vice Chair of Supervision Michael Barr will talk about the Community Reinvestment Act. Fed Governor Adriana Kugler will discuss the economic outlook and monetary policy.


•   March Challenger Job Cuts: The firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas tracks the number of layoff announcements each month by sector.

•   February Trade Balance: Trade, made up of exports and imports, is an important driver of economic activity.

•   Weekly Jobless Claims: This high frequency labor market data gives insight into filings for unemployment benefits. Jobless claims have continued to show a labor market that remains strong despite having cooled.

•   Fedspeak: Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will take part in a fireside chat. Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin will discuss the economic outlook. Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will take part in a moderated Q&A. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will discuss the economic outlook. St. Louis Fed President Alberto Musalem will deliver introductory remarks at an economics event. Fed Governor Adriana Kugler will discuss how life experiences can supplement data and analysis.

•   Earnings: Conagra Brands (CAG), Lamb Weston (LW)


•   March Employment Situation Summary: This monthly blockbuster release from the Labor Department gives a comprehensive look at employment, wages, and hours worked in the previous month.

•   February Consumer Credit: Borrowing activity gives insight into broader economic activity. It has trended lower as interest rates have risen, but is poised to turn higher.

•   Fedspeak: Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin will discuss the economic outlook. Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan will speak at a Duke University economics event. Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will discuss monetary policy risks and uncertainties.

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