Stocks to Watch: FOMC Meeting, FedEx Earnings and March Madness

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The Federal Reserve is meeting next week with traders almost certain that a 25-point rate hike will be announced. The Fed’s current thinking on the timing of further rate hikes will be closely watched. Key economic reports include a report on producer prices that could show a double-digit gain from a year ago and the retail sales update for February. fedex (NYSE: FDX) is the most notable company to venture into income confessional. Keep an eye on the London Metal Exchange to see if the nickel market (LN1:COM) is reopened and other commodities are also expected to trade with volatility in the latest Ukraine-Russia headlines. On the lighter side of things, NCAA basketball starts next week with sports betting operators like DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG)BeMGM (NYSE: MGM)Caesars Sportsbook (NASDAQ:CZR) and FanDuel (MGM, OTCPK:GMVHF) looking for a massive amount of betting action.

Earnings Spotlight: Monday, March 14 Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN).

Earnings Spotlight: Tuesday, March 15 wedges (NYSE:CAL) and Dole plc (NYSE:DOLE).

Earnings Spotlight: Wednesday, March 16 Jabil (NYSE:JBL)Lennar (NYSE: LEN)Williams Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) and ZTO Express (NYSE: ZTO).

Earnings Spotlight: Thursday, March 17 General dollar (NYSE:DG)FedEx (FDX), GameStop (NYSE: GME) and hot (NYSEMKT:CRV).

Earnings Spotlight: Friday, March 18 Waiting (NYSE:ONON).

IPO and SPAC monitoring: Follow-up IPO activity is down more than 70% so far this year compared to last year, while follow-up offers are down 76% and new SPACs down 88 %. However, the IPO market returns to action next week with Akanda (AKAN) and Genius Group (GNS) both expected to start trading, while new SPACs that could start trading include Bridgetown 2 Holdings, backed by Peter Thiel, taking on Singapore’s online property company Property Guru and acquisition of FirstMark Horizon (NYSE: FMAC) publicizing US fixed wireless broadband provider Starry. Notable March 14 IPO blocking expiries include Thoughtworks Holding (NASDAQ: TWKS)Dutch Bros (NYSE:BROS)Sportradar Holding (NASDAQ: SRAD) and Dice Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DICE).

Projected dividend increases: Companies plan to increase their quarterly dividend payout, including World Fuel Services (NYSE:INT) to $0.14 from $0.12, Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) at $0.75 from $0.68, Dollar General (DG) at $0.46 from $0.42, Fulton Financial (NASDAQ:FULT) at $0.15 from $0.14, Shoe Carnival (NASDAQ: SCVL) to $0.075 from $0.070, Residential Equity (NYSE: EQR) at $0.6375 from $0.6025 and CareTrust REIT (NASDAQ: CTRE) to $0.28 from $0.265.

FOMC meeting: The Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee is due to meet on March 15-16 with the general expectation that a 25-point rate hike will be announced. Ahead of the meeting, Moody’s maintained the assumption that the Federal Reserve is raising the federal funds rate target range four times this year to 25 basis points per clip. Markets are forecasting even more bulls, just ahead of seven bulls over the next 12 months. According to Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress last week, the FOMC appears to be moving closer to a balance sheet liquidation plan. UBS says the Fed wants a quick but controlled process that won’t stress the market. “We expect the median projection for 2022 to be revised from three hikes in December to six or seven in March. By the end of 2024, we expect the median assumption for the fed funds rate to be around 3.0 % to reflect a “whatever attitude” to reduce inflation.

FedEx Revenue Snapshot: FedEx (FDX) is due to report earnings on March 17 with revenue expectations of $23.6 billion and EPS of $4.47 to report. Some analysts shifted gears this week on FDX to warn of lost profits as pandemic tailwinds were offset by Omicron headwinds, weather and labor issues. FedEx is also having a particularly difficult quarter and should potentially be cautious with its guidance due to the macro backdrop.

Corporate events: Mereo BioPharma plc Group (NASDAQ:MREO) will host a virtual R&D day on March 14 to review the company’s alvelestat (MPH966) program. The three-day Adobe Summit begins. Guest speakers include Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) President and CEO Shantanu Narayen, Nike (NYSE: NKE) CEO John Donahoe and Walgreen Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) CEO Rosalind Brewer. Trans Union (NYSE: TRU) and Creditcorp (NYSE: BAP) are also hosting investor events on March 15. The next day Floor & Decor (NYSE: FND)Box (NYSE: BOX) and energy from fuel cells (NASDAQ: FCEL) organize key events for investors. All three are circled by analysts as potential stock price catalysts.

Conference schedule: JPMorgan Industrials conference seems to be the biggest conference of the week with CSX transportation companies (NASDAQ:CSX)Jet Blue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) and Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) all lined up as presenters. Other notable conferences include the 34th Annual Roth Conference, Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Barclays Global Healthcare Conference, Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference, and William Blair Tech Innovator Conference.

Annual meetings: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) holds its annual meeting on March 16. The coffee giant is expected to outline its post-pandemic recovery expectations and provide an update on the suspension of activity in Russia. Starbucks’ board is asking shareholders to vote against a proposal that would require the company to file annual reports on workplace harassment and discrimination. Starbucks noted that it is already active in addressing workplace harassment and discrimination through extensive workplace training and an established process for reporting harassment and discrimination. SBUX shares are down 34% from their 52-week high.

Mentions of Barron: Post breaks down the benefit of stock splits for big companies like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) even if the action is more symbolic than material. “We expect the stock split to increase the accessibility of stocks to a wider range of potential investors, and note that the split should enable the potential inclusion of Amazon stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average,” notes Wells Fargo Amazon analyst Brian Fitzgerald. . Other companies with high share prices that could be ripe for a spin-off include Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG)Auto area (NYSE: AZO)Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG)You’re here (NASDAQ: TSLA)black rock (NYSE:BLK) and O’Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ: ORLY).

Sources: EDGAR, Bloomberg, CNBC, Reuters, Renaissance Capital

Editor’s Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major US exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these actions.

Garland K. Long