March Jobs, Yellen, and the Final Four—5 Things to Know for the Week Ahead

March 27, 2016, 2:25 PM UTC
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Markets open again on Monday following a three-day holiday weekend and a week of moderate losses that put an end to U.S. stocks’ five-week winning streak. This week, investors will have their eyes on what should be another strong monthly jobs report—on Friday, April 1 (no April Fool’s!)—as well as upcoming comments from Fed chair Janet Yellen and a series of economic data reports. Meanwhile, world leaders will gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss the threat of nuclear terrorism and sports fans look ahead to this coming weekend, when the remaining few college basketball teams battle it out for a shot at March Madness glory.

Here’s what you need to know for the week ahead.

1. March jobs report

The national unemployment rate is likely to remain steady for another month, as Friday’s monthly employment report from the Labor Department is expected to show an increase of roughly 205,000 jobs in March. Those gains would follow February’s gains of 242,000 jobs while holding the unemployment rate at its eight-year low of 4.9%.

2. Fed’s Yellen speaks

Investors will be watching on Tuesday, when Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen delivers a speech at an Economic Club of New York event. Yellen’s remarks could offer some hints regarding the central bank’s plans for future interest rate hikes. Some leaders within the Fed have recently advocated against Yellen’s dovish stance, arguing in favor of more immediate hikes. Also of interest to investors this week will be the release of additional economic data, including consumer spending data, on Monday, while the Institute for Supply Management will report its national manufacturing index on Friday.

How investors react to Yellen’s remarks, along with the new economic data and monthly employment numbers, will likely decide whether or not U.S. stocks are able to rebound from last week’s moderate declines, which halted what had been a five-week winning streak.

3. Nuclear Security Summit

Dozens of world leaders will gather in Washington, D.C. starting Thursday to discuss nuclear terrorism prevention, as President Barack Obama and the U.S. State Department host the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. Obama will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit, as the two leaders intend to discuss cooperation, especially with regard to keeping tabs on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, as well as other areas where the two countries have had disagreements recently, including cybersecurity.

4. Earnings: BlackBerry, Carnival

Most major corporations have already reported their latest quarterly earnings, but a handful of companies of some interest to investors will post new quarterly figures this week. Carnival (CUK), the world’s largest cruise ship operator, reports first-quarter results on Wednesday. Investors will be interested to hear if the company has any updates to its 2016 forecast as well as Carnival’s recently announced plans to launch the first cruises to Cuba in decades. On Friday, BlackBerry (BBRY) is likely to post more losses when it reports fourth-quarter results. After years of losing out in the smartphone market to rivals such as Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and Android (GOOG) phones, BlackBerry’s software revenue has seen improvement, but not enough to offset declining legacy fees. However, the company’s new Priv smartphone runs on Android software and launched in several countries last quarter.

Other companies reporting quarterly earnings this week include chipmaker Micron Technology (MU) and “athleisure” apparel company Lululemon Athletica (LULU).

5. NCAA Final Four

The remaining four teams in both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments will be decided heading into this coming weekend. The men’s Final Four takes place in Houston over the weekend, with the women’s final games to be played in Indianapolis. Every year, March Madness generates more than $1 billion in advertising revenue, while more than $9 billion in bets were expected to be placed on this year’s tournament.


—Reuters contributed to this article.

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