Week Ahead on Wall Street: Fed Week

By: Mario Ismailanji · March 18, 2024 · Reading Time: 4 minutes

How Many and When?

The time every market watcher has been waiting for is finally here: It’s Fed week.

The Federal Reserve’s Tuesday and Wednesday meeting is one of its eight meetings of the year to decide on next steps for monetary policy. Hopes for a change in interest rates have diminished, but investors will be listening carefully to what Fed Chair Jerome Powell will have to say. What makes this meeting even more exciting is that it’s one of the four meetings where Fed officials also release an update to their economic outlook.

Let’s quickly review what happened since the last meeting: Markets were pricing in about six rate cuts for all of 2024 following the January meeting, with the first likely occurring in May, if not sooner. But the tides have turned since then. We’ve had two hot jobs and inflation reports, in addition to a boatload of strong company earnings. In response, investors have adjusted their expectations, with just three rate cuts projected this year, and the first not expected until the summer.

Markets pricing in three rate cuts for the year actually aligns with the median Fed official’s expectation from back in the Fed’s December outlook, which is interesting because when that outlook came out investors still expected six rate cuts. This is a continuation of a recent pattern where investors and Fed officials initially disagree on the outlook, only for investor expectations to converge with the Fed down the line.

That brings us to this week. While no one expects the Fed to change the target rate this meeting, other things are more up in the air, including what might change regarding the projections? Considering the strong data we’ve seen since the December meeting, it seems likely that their growth outlook could get revised higher, but unemployment, inflation, and interest rates are bigger unknowns.

Wednesday can’t get here fast enough.

Economic and Earnings Calendar


•  February New York Services Activity: The New York Fed’s survey of manufacturing executives in the region on business conditions and their outlook.

•  March NAHB Housing Market Index: This index tracks how homebuilders feel about the current and future state of the single-family housing market.


•  February Building Permits and Housing Starts: Construction data is a leading indicator of business activity.


•  FOMC Interest Rate Decision: The Federal Reserve will announce any changes to monetary policy after the conclusion of its two-day FOMC meeting, in addition to providing commentary on the economy. It’s one of eight regularly scheduled meetings per year.

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

•  Fedspeak: Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference after the release of the FOMC statement.

•  Earnings: General Mills (GIS), Micron Technology (MU)


•  March Philadelphia Fed Non-Manufacturing Activity: The Philadelphia Fed’s survey of manufacturing executives in the region on business conditions and their outlook.

•  February Leading Economic Index: As the name suggests, this is an index composed of various economic indicators that have historically led changes in the broader economy.

•  February Existing Home Sales: Most home transactions in any given month tend to come from the existing market, and as a result set the tone for the broader housing market.

•  March S&P Global US PMIs: These indexes track how purchasing managers across different industries feel about the business environment.

•  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.

•  Earnings: Accenture (ACN), Darden Restaurants (DRI), FactSet Research Systems (FDS), FedEx (FDX), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), Nike (NKE)


•  Fedspeak: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will take part in a moderate conversation on household finances.

Looking for more stories like this? Check out On the Money — SoFi’s one-stop-shop for news, trends, and tips!

Check it out

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender