This will be an important week for the market as traders expect key information. The following will be the most important things to pay close attention to this week.
On Wednesday, the Fed will conclude its two-day monetary policy meeting. The bank will then release the first interest rates decision of the year and provide a guidance on what investors should expect going forward. In this meeting, the bank is not expected to rise interest rates but investors will want to know whether there will be any changes to the previous guidance. In the December’s meeting, the bank signaled that it will hike two times this year. In recent talks, a number of members like Esther George have taken dovish sentiments. The Fed chair has also signaled flexibility when making the rates decision.
Last week, there was no major news on trade. This week, this will change as president Xi’s senior economic aide, Liu He visits Washington to follow-up on meetings that took place in Beijing two weeks ago. He will hold talks with Robert Lighthizer and Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin. While investors have cheered the ongoing talks, there are concerns that they may not yield major concessions from China. It has also been argued that even with a deal, there may be a difficult period in enforcing the outcomes. These meetings will happen before the March deadline.
This will be an important week for corporate earnings as important companies release their fourth quarter results. On Tuesday, Apple will be watched closely because of its recent activity. In the third quarter earnings, the company revealed that it would stop announcing the unit sales of iPhones. This was viewed as a sign that the numbers were not that good. In recent weeks, the company has slashed its guidance and reduced the prices of the iPhones, which is a sign that things are not all that good. Other companies that will release results this week are Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, Alibaba, Caterpillar, Exxon Mobil, Novartis, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron among others.
US Jobs Numbers
On Friday, the Labor department will release the jobs numbers for January. These numbers will come after the impressive jobs numbers released in the past month. Investors expect the numbers to show that the economy added 160K jobs. This will be lower than the previously-released 312K jobs. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.9% while wages are expected to rise by 3.2%. The average weekly hours are expected to remain at 34.5. These numbers will shed a light to the possible impact of the government shutdown. Another data that will be released will be the fourth quarter GDP of the US.
As the March 29 deadline approaches, investors will pay a close attention to the Brexit talks. The hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided has helped the sterling rise sharply in the past two weeks. This means that the sterling is priced for perfection, which exposes it to a risk of a sharp decline.