Wednesday will be as big as a day gets for the market, with some very key information emanating from the Federal Reserve. First, at 2:00 PM ET, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will declare its current monetary policy plans. Expectations are for no change to rates and asset purchases. Also at 2:00 PM, we’ll get the latest updated Fed forecast data. The quarterly report offers insight into the Fed’s expectations for GDP, employment and inflation. We may get a downgrade to growth on the sequester cuts. Then at 2:30 PM comes the Chairman’s press conference, within which he may continue to speak positively about economic recovery. However, he is not expected to announce any time schedule for monetary policy change. He may offer some insight into the metrics that matter most to the Fed, and those are likely to remain employment and inflation relative. This information will dictate trade not only for Wednesday, but for the next few weeks. You won’t like what takes the baton after that… earnings.
We’ll get the regular mortgage activity data from the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday morning. Last week’s report showed a decrease in activity on higher mortgage rates, leading us to ask if higher interest rates might stall the housing recovery.
The weekly Petroleum Status Report is up for release at 10:30 AM EDT. Last week’s report covering the period ending March 8 showed crude oil inventories increased 2.6 million barrels to a level still well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline stocks fell by 3.6 million barrels to the middle of the average range for this time of year.
President Barack Obama visits Israel for the first time in his entire presidency. I expect this will raise speculation about Iran and spook oil prices and major integrated oils like Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM). In other international news, U.K. Finance Minister George Osborne will deliver his 2013 budget.
In corporate news, an FDA advisory committee examines a circulatory device of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT). Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX), Agilent (NYSE: A), Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN), Terex (NYSE: TEX), Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO), Flowserve (NYSE: FLS), JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU) and Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) have shareholder or analyst meetings scheduled. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) is presenting at the ISI Retail Summit and Visa (NYSE: V) is presenting at the Barclays Emerging Payments Conference. The earnings schedule highlights reports from Concord Medical Services (NYSE: CCM), FedEx (NYSE: FDX), General Mills (NYSE: GIS), Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL), Lennar (NYSE: LEN) and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL). Trimble Navigation (Nasdaq: TRMB) will split its shares 2-for-1. Look for more earnings from Acquity Group (NYSE: AQ), Actuant (NYSE: ATU), CLARCOR (NYSE: CLC), Cover-All Technologies (Nasdaq: COVR), FNB United (Nasdaq: FNBN), Guess (NYSE: GES), Herman Miller (Nasdaq: MLHR), Ignite Restaurant (NYSE: IRG), Luby’s (NYSE: LUB), Pacific Sunwear (Nasdaq: PSUN), TearLab (Nasdaq: TEAR), Tilly’s (Nasdaq: TLYS) and Tumi (Nasdaq: TUMI).
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