Investing.com — Stocks paused on Wednesday as investors await key data on jobs later this week and anticipate the Federal Reserve’s reaction.
Hiring demand continues to be strong, with job openings staying near record-high levels in April. The job openings data from the Labor Department on Wednesday was just part of the story to be revealed this week. They came in as expected at 11.4 million. On Thursday, investors will see the latest data on new unemployment claims for last week, a day before Friday’s government jobs report for May.
The Fed is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate another half-percentage point when it meets this month, and again next month, as it tries to tame inflation, but then it could ease back on such large increases depending on the direction of inflation. Recent data has shown evidence that the pace of inflation is slowing, though rising gasoline prices at the retail pump could complicate that trend.
Some executives have sounded less optimistic. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said at a conference on Wednesday that people should “brace” for an economic hurricane. “Right now, it’s kind of sunny, things are doing fine,” Dimon said. “That hurricane is right out there, down the road, coming our way.”
Employers have been scrambling to fill open job postings as demand far exceeds the number of unemployed people. The Fed not only wants to tame inflation, it wants to preserve a strong labor market and avoid tipping the economy into recession. The unemployment rate is around 3.6% at the latest reading, a multidecade low.
President Joe Biden aims to emphasize his job creation record as he battles perceptions that the administration is faltering in its efforts to curb inflation despite trying to ease gasoline prices.
Here are three things that could affect markets tomorrow:
1. Lululemon earnings
Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) was one of those pandemic darling stocks, benefiting from the casual stay-at-home trend. But now that people are returning to social activities, offices and the outside world, casual wear could be a casualty. Lulu is expected to report earnings of $1.43 a share on revenue of $1.6 billion.
2. Hormel Foods earnings
Food companies have been reporting higher prices and tighter margins, and analysts will be listening to what Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) says when it reports earnings on Thursday. Hormel is expected to report EPS of 47 cents on revenue of $3.06 billion.
3. Okta earnings
The cloud-based identity authentication company Okta Inc (NASDAQ:OKTA
01/06 – Closed
19:58:08 – Delayed Data84.5618:0020:0022:0080.0082.0084.00
5 Min:Strong Sell
Monthly:Strong Sell) is seen reporting a 34-cent loss per share on revenue of $388.8 million, though analysts will be listening to hear its outlook for the next quarter and the year.