Fed Meeting, GDP, and Apple Earnings—5 Things to Know for the Week Ahead
Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Investors will be watching the Fed closely, looking for the central bank’s latest decision on interest rates (though no change is expected), while there will also be a new GDP estimate for the markets to parse over. Meanwhile, corporate earnings season is in full swing, with Apple’s latest results headlining a week of major earnings announcements. And, the remaining presidential candidates continue to battle over votes and delegates, with five more states heading to the polls early in the week.
Here’s what you need to know for the week ahead.
1. Fed meeting
Leaders at the U.S. Federal Reserve will gather in Washington for their third, two-day monetary policy meeting of the year. Fed chair Janet Yellen and her fellow central bank officials are likely to leave interest rates unchanged, as they push back their plans to incrementally raise rates after hiking rates last year for the first time in nearly a decade. The Fed will announce its rate decision on Wednesday, with benchmark rates expected to remain in the 0.25% to 0.5% range. A recent Reuters poll of economists found that a majority expect the Fed will wait to hike rates again in June.
2. U.S. GDP
This week brings another fresh batch of economic data with the potential to shine a light on the state of the nation’s economy while affecting market movement. On Thursday, the Commerce Department is likely to report that the U.S. economy’s growth slowed down in the first quarter of 2016. The first look at first-quarter U.S. GDP is expected to show an annualized growth rate of 0.7%, which is down from 1.4% in the final quarter of 2015. Also coming out this week, on Friday, is a report that should show that consumer spending growth in March increased slightly to 0.2% from 0.1% in the previous month. Other reports coming this week include new data on house prices, durable goods orders, and consumer confidence.
3. Apple earnings
The tech giant announces its second-quarter results on Tuesday and analysts expect Apple (AAPL) will fall just short of Wall Street’s expectations as sales of the company’s tent-pole product, iPhones, likely continued to disappoint. Apple’s stock plunged earlier this year on reports that sales of the company’s smartphones had gone relatively stagnant. Last month, Apple held a much-hyped unveiling for its latest update to the iPhone family, the iPhone 7. That smartphone will likely go on sale later this year, but some analysts doubt whether even the new product, the design of which marks a return to smaller, earlier models, can spark needed sales growth.
4. More earnings: Amazon, Twitter, and Big Oil
Beyond Apple, there are still several major tech earnings announcements coming this week, including first-quarter results from Amazon (AMZN). The e-commerce giant is expected to post a bump in quarterly revenue to beat analysts’ forecasts thanks to the continued growth of Amazon’s streaming video service, which now offers monthly subscriptions, while faster delivery has helped the company maintain its hold on the e-commerce market. Twitter (TWTR) is also expected to report higher first-quarter revenue when it posts results on Tuesday, though the company is still expected to fall just short of Wall Street’s growth expectations as it faces pressure to show user growth.
Also reporting quarterly earnings this week are two of the world’s largest oil companies—Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM)—along with Boeing (BA), chemicals giant DuPont (DD), and Charter Communications (CHTR).
5. (Another) Super Tuesday
The presidential primary races continue to drag on this week, as the final five candidates keep battling for the remaining delegates needed to earn their respective parties’ nominations before November’s general election. Fresh off their victories in New York, Democratic leader Hillary Clinton and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump try to keep up their momentum in a batch of five new state contests on Tuesday, as voters head to the polls in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
—Reuters contributed to this report.