Investing.com - Global financial markets will focus on Wednesday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting for further hints on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.
Market players will also keep an eye out on U.S. housing data to gauge if a recent increase in consumer spending and inflation is translating into higher home prices and a pick-up in home sales.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., traders will be looking ahead to a second reading on British growth data for further indications on the continued effect that the Brexit decision is having on the economy.
In the euro zone, investors will await flash survey data on euro zone business activity for fresh clues on the health of the region’s manufacturing and services sector.
Elsewhere, traders will be looking to retail sales and inflation data from Canada to gauge the health of the economy.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.
1. Fed FOMC Meeting Minutes
The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (19:00GMT).
The U.S. central bank held interest rates steady following its meeting on February 1 and painted a relatively upbeat picture of the economy, although it gave no firm signal on the timing of its next rate move.
There are also a few Fed speakers this week, with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker due to speak Tuesday, while Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled for Thursday.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen raised market expectations for a near-term rate hike last week after saying it would be “unwise” to keep interest rates lower for longer.
Fed fund futures priced in a less than 20% chance of a rate hike in March, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a June increase was seen at around 70%.
2. U.S. Housing Data for January
The National Association of Realtors is to release data on existing home sales for January at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT) on Wednesday, amid forecasts for a gain of 1.0% to 5.55 million, following a decline of 2.8% a month earlier.
On Friday, the Commerce Department is to publish a report on January new home sales at 10AM ET (15:00GMT). The data is expected to show a jump of 7.2% to 575,000, following a drop of 10.4% in December.
Besides the housing-related data, this week's holiday-shortened calendar also features U.S. data on initial jobless claims and a revised reading on Michigan consumer sentiment.
Markets in the U.S. will remain closed on Monday for President’s Day.
Headlines from Washington will most likely remain in focus in the week ahead, as traders await further details on President Donald Trump's promises of tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending.
Earnings from retail heavyweights, including Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Macy's (NYSE:M), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) are also on the radar this week, as are results from Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).
3. U.K. Fourth Quarter GDP - Second Estimate
The Office for National Statistics is to produce a second estimate on U.K. fourth-quarter economic growth at 09:30GMT (4:30AM ET) on Wednesday.
The report is forecast to confirm the economy grew 0.6% in the final three months of last year, underlining the view that the British economy remains on a solid footing.
On a year-over-year basis, the economy is forecast to grow by 2.2%, also unchanged from an initial estimate.
The Bank of England raised its forecasts for growth and inflation earlier this month, but appeared in no rush to raise interest rates.
4. February Flash Euro Zone PMIs
The euro zone is to publish preliminary data on manufacturing and service sector activity for February at 09:00GMT (4:00AM ET) on Tuesday, amid expectations for a modest decline.
Ahead of the euro zone PMI's, France and Germany will release their own PMI reports at 08:00GMT and 08:30GMT respectively.
Other data out of the euro zone this week include final inflation and consumer confidence figures.
In addition, market participants will be focusing on Wednesday's IFO survey data on German business confidence to gauge sentiment in the euro zone's largest economy.
5. Canadian Retail Sales & Inflation Figures
Canada is to release December retail sales figures at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT) Wednesday.
The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales rose 0.1%, after rising 0.2% in October. Core sales are forecast to climb 0.8% in December, after ticking up 0.1% a month earlier.
On Friday, Canada is to publish data on consumer price inflation for January at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT). The data is expected to show that inflation increased 0.3% last month, after falling 0.2% a month earlier. On a yearly base, CPI is projected to climb 1.6%.
Stay up-to-date on all of this week's economic events by visiting: http://www.investing.com/economic-calendar/