U.S. and global market indexes gained in the past week, after positive economic data on Friday outweighed worries about the impact of continued rate increases. Most U.S. stock sectors were higher on the week.
This week, we are expecting some very important economic reports on major markets. It’s worth watching for the following economic events this week, as all of them can prove to be major market movers. For a full listing of all upcoming economic events, check out TipRanks’ Economic Calendar.
- Employment reports – Friday, March 10 – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will report on February’s Nonfarm Payrolls, Labor Force Participation Rate, and, finally, Unemployment Rate. The analysts’ consensus is that unemployment will be unchanged from January’s record-low rate of 3.4%, as payrolls decline by just 35K from January’s outstandingly high 517K, while participation in the labor force declines marginally to 62.3% (still remaining at its highest since May last year). If all this plays out according to forecasts, the expectations of higher interest rates for longer will be reinforced, pouring cold water on markets’ risk sentiment.
- Words from the Fed – Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7 and 8 – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will testify before Congress, and all eyes will be on his assessment of the economy and monetary policy. Meanwhile, Fedspeak continues to lean hawkish in response to more positive economic surprises, with the Minneapolis Fed’s Kashkari saying he’s open-minded on a 25 vs. 50 bp hike in March, while Atlanta’s Bostic warned of the risk of stopping tightening too soon.
- U.S. Consumer Credit – Tuesday, March 7 – According to Experian, both interest rates and levels of consumer debt are at record highs. At above 19%, average credit card interest rates are floating above all rates since the U.S. government started tracking them, in the 1970’s. Notably, interest rates on credit cards are linked to the federal funds rate, which the Fed is likely to raise again. Given the expected interest rate hike, along with the current high prices of goods and services, consumer credit rates will probably remain elevated.