Jobs Data, ConAgra, FedEx, Walmart, and More to Watch This Short Week

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It will be a holiday-shortened trading week with several major economic-data releases ahead of first-quarter earnings season. U.S. stock markets will be closed on Good Friday, while bond markets will have a half day. Jobs Friday that morning will still be this week’s highlight.

Economists collectively expect to see an increase of 200,000 U.S. jobs in March, versus 311,000 nonfarm payrolls added in February. Consensus is for the unemployment rate to remain at 3.6%.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also release the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday. Economists forecast a decline of 400,000 job openings, to 10.45 million, on the last business day of February.

Other economic data out this week will include the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Services Purchasing Managers’ Index for March on Monday, followed by the Services equivalent on Wednesday. Both
s are expected to be about even with their February readings.

This week’s corporate calendar is quieter, before JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup kick off first-quarter earnings season next Friday.

Investor days from

and Waste Management—plus earnings from
Conagra Brands,

Lamb Weston Holdings,
Constellation Brands
—will be the highlights in the meantime.

Monday 4/3

Walt Disney
hold their annual shareholder meetings.

The Institute for Supply Management releases its Manufacturing Services Purchasing Managers’ Index for March. Consensus estimate is for a 47.5 reading, about even with the February data. The index has had four consecutive readings below 50, indicating contraction in the manufacturing sector.

The Census Bureau reports construction spending data for February. Spending is expected to remain flat month over month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.83 trillion.

Tuesday 4/4

Walmart convenes a two-day investor meeting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Economists forecast 10.45 million job openings on the last business day of February, nearly 400,000 fewer than in January. Job openings are off their peak of 12 million in March of 2022 but remain historically elevated with 1.8 openings for every unemployed person.

Wednesday 4/5

ADP releases its National Employment Report for March. Consensus estimate is for the economy to add 200,000 private-sector jobs, about 42,000 fewer than in February. Wage growth increased 7.2% year over year in February, led by the leisure and hospitality industry with a 10.1% gain.

Conagra Brands announces fiscal-third-quarter 2023 results.

FedEx holds an investor meeting in New York to discuss its Drive initiative, a cost-cutting plan that the company expects to deliver more than $4 billion in annualized savings by fiscal 2025.

Waste Management
hosts an investor day to discuss its sustainability initiatives.

The ISM releases its Services PMI for March. Consensus call is for a 53.8 reading, slightly lower than in February. Unlike the ISM’s Manufacturing PMI, the Services PMI is comfortably above the expansionary level of 50, and has had only one reading below 50 in the past two years, as postpandemic revenge travel and spending have kept the services sector strong.

Thursday 4/6

Constellation Brands and Lamb Weston Holdings release earnings.

The Department of Labor reports initial jobless claims for the week ending on April 1. Jobless claims averaged 198,250 in March and remain stubbornly low even after the Federal Reserve’s many interest-rate hikes.

Friday 4/7

Equity markets are closed in observance of Good Friday. Fixed-income markets are open but close at noon ET.

The BLS releases the jobs report for March. Expectations are for nonfarm payrolls to increase by 200,000, 111,000 fewer than in February. The unemployment rate is seen remaining unchanged at 3.6%, near a historic low. Job growth has exceeded expectations for 11 consecutive months, the longest such streak since at least 1998, according to Bloomberg data.

Write to Nicholas Jasinski at [email protected]

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