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Must know: This week's releases and the upcoming FOMC meeting

Must know: This week's releases and the upcoming FOMC meeting (Part 1 of 8)

Must know: Why is this week important for the US economy?

This week’s key releases

Among the important releases for the week ended March 21, the Federal Open Market Committee (or FOMC) meeting is much anticipated. This will be the first FOMC meeting for Janet Yellen as Chair. The meeting, which begins Tuesday, March 18, will also include the release of the Summary of Economic Projections among other FOMC announcements and will be followed by a press conference by the Chair. The financial markets, investors, companies, and fund houses, are all awaiting the FOMC announcements.

gdp growthEnlarge GraphAlso releasing this week are certain important economic indicators:

  • The Industrial Production index issued monthly by the Fed, will be out on Monday, March 17.
  • The Housing Market Index (or HMI), issued monthly by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo (WFC), will also come out on March 17.
  • Housing starts for February, issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, is out today, March 18, along with the Consumer Price Index, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The weekly change in the Mortgage Bankers’ Association Purchase Applications Index will also be released on Wednesday.
  • Existing Home Sales for February will be issued by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday, March 20.
  • The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Indicators is also scheduled to release on March 20.

These releases provide guidance on the course of the economy, and are crucial to understanding the financial health of the economy.

The performances of popular exchange-traded funds (or ETFs) like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), and the iShares S&P 100 ETF (OEF), which track large-cap equities of companies like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), also reflects the course that the U.S. economy is taking.

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