The final week of 2023 promises to be a pivotal one for investors, with two major economic events taking center stage: the release of November’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Federal Reserve’s final policy decision of the year.
Inflation Data in Focus
On Tuesday morning, investors will be glued to their screens as the latest CPI data is released. Economists forecast a 3.1% increase in headline CPI over the prior year, down from 3.2% in October. This would mark a welcome step forward in the fight against inflation, which has been a major concern for policymakers and households alike.
Analysts expect core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, to remain unchanged at 4% year-over-year. This figure is closely monitored by the Fed as a gauge of underlying inflationary pressures.
Fed Decision Looms Large
Wednesday afternoon brings the highly anticipated FOMC policy announcement. With near certainty, the Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady in the range of 5.25%-5.50%. However, the accompanying economic projections and Powell’s press conference will be closely scrutinized for any hints about the future trajectory of monetary policy.
Investors are particularly eager to hear Powell’s views on the potential for rate cuts as early as March. While recent data, including the November jobs report and October’s inflation figures, have offered some cause for optimism, some economists believe the Fed will remain cautious and avoid signaling a shift towards easing anytime soon.
Other Economic Highlights
While the Fed and inflation data will dominate the week, there are other noteworthy economic releases scheduled:
- Wednesday: Producer Price Index (PPI) and MBA Mortgage Applications
- Thursday: Initial jobless claims, Retail sales, Import prices, and Export prices
- Friday: Empire Manufacturing, Industrial production, and S&P Global US Manufacturing and Services PMI
Several major companies are also set to report their quarterly earnings during the week, including:
- Wednesday: Adobe (ADBE)
- Thursday: Costco (COST) and Lennar (LEN)
- Friday: Darden Restaurants (DRI)
The upcoming week promises to be a volatile one for the markets, as investors digest key economic data and navigate the uncertainties surrounding the Fed’s next move. Despite the potential for swings, the markets have been on a strong upward trajectory in recent weeks, with all three major US indexes finishing the last six weeks with gains.
With the year nearing an end, investors will be looking for any signs that the bull market can continue into 2024. The Fed’s decision and its implications for future policy will play a crucial role in shaping market sentiment in the coming months.
This week promises to be a pivotal one for the markets, offering critical insights into the future of inflation, monetary policy, and the overall economic landscape. Keep an eye out for updates as we navigate through the final week of 2023 and look ahead to what 2024 might bring.