Three Things to Know & Watch

Mar 18, 2024

By Bill Hornbarger, Chief Investment Officer
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Three Things to Watch

  • The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will draw most of the attention this week, even though expectations are that rates will be left unchanged after the hotter-than-expected inflation reports the past couple of months. Futures indicate a <1% chance of a rate cut Wednesday, and now show the highest odds of the first cut at the June meeting and a total of three this calendar year.
  • Fed Chairman Powell’s press conference should help shape policy expectations going forward. The recent increase in yields is a sign that the markets have embraced “higher for longer” and will parse each word for indication if that is correct. If the Fed views recent inflation data as the start of a new trend, the rhetoric needs to be much more hawkish, and Wednesday’s press conference is the first opportunity to do so.
  • The data calendar is light with existing home sales, housing starts and the NAHB Housing Market Index for March all on tap. The Leading Economic Index is expected to decline for the 24th consecutive month, one of the longest stretches on record.

Three Things to Know

  • Since 1985, every champion of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has reached at least the semifinals of its conference tournament. (Source: College Basketball Report)
  • No matter where the Final Four is hosted, the hardwood court always comes from the same place. The “Final Floors” are developed by Connor Sports, which takes hardwood sugar maple from northern Michigan. The wood goes to Amasa, Michigan, for the development of the floor panels and then to Idaho Falls, Idaho, to be finished. From there, the floors go to the stadium, where they take about five hours to install. The farthest any floor has traveled from forest to dome has been 2,552 miles to Atlanta in 2007 and 2013. (Source: Athlon Sports)
  • There is a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance that someone could correctly pick the winner of every game in the 64-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The odds of simultaneously winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning, and getting a boa constrictor to emerge from the toilet are more likely to happen. (Source: Forbes, Kidadl)


The above information reflects the current opinion of the author. It is based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward-looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security mentioned.