Three Things to Know & Watch

Mar 25, 2024

By Bill Hornbarger, Chief Investment Officer
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Three Things to Watch

  • Most of the big news this week will happen on Friday, when the markets are closed in observance of Good Friday. The U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) favored measure of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index, will be released on Friday and is expected to be a bit hot, consistent with other recent inflation data. The core PCE price index, which excludes food and energy costs, is seen rising 0.3% on the heels of its biggest monthly increase in a year. The overall measure is forecast to climb 0.4%, the most since September. That would leave annualized core price growth over the past three months running at the fastest pace since May. On a six-month annualized basis, the core PCE price index would also show an acceleration.
  • The markets will also get data on new and pending home sales and consumer sentiment. Sentiment has been flat to soft year-to-date despite new highs for equity markets and bears watching as a potential leading indicator for consumer activity.
  • Multiple Fed speakers are on the tapes on Friday, including Fed Chair Powell. With the Fed signaling confidence in three anticipated interest rate cuts this year, investors will be looking for confirmation that this is the consensus view.

Three Things to Know

  • Fed Chairman Jerome Powell actually cited the stock market’s recent gains as reason for confidence in the direction of inflation, saying after last week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, “If you look at the S&P, what it says is that it is still likely, in most people’s view, that we will achieve” its goals in stifling inflation. (Source: Forbes)
  • On average, Americans believe they’ll need nearly $1.3 million to retire comfortably, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2023 Planning and Progress study. However, the amount Americans in their 30s currently have saved is much lower. The median 401(k) balance for account holders in their 30s is around $20,400, according to the latest data from Fidelity Investments, the nation’s largest 401(k) provider. The data is from the fourth quarter of 2023. (Source: CNBC)
  • Of the 68 teams that started the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, 37 have won the March Madness championship and 15 have won multiple times. (Source:


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.