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Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch for Feb. 21

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·3-min read
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By Kim Khan

Investing.com - As Wall Street wraps up another volatile week, still caught in the swings of headlines about the coronavirus, there will still more numbers for traders to assess.

On the economic calendar the latest report on sales of existing homes arrives, as do number on manufacturing and services activity.

Deere, the top seller of farm equipment, issues its quarterly results.

And a host of Federal Reserve board members will be discussing the economy, including whether the Fed has a Fun House dilemma.

Here are three things that could move the markets Friday.

1. Existing Home Sales Seen Falling

Housing numbers are on the economic calendar again, this time with data on sales of existing homes.

The National Association of Realtors will report on January sales of existing residential buildings at 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT).

Existing home sales are expected to have ticked down 1.8% to an annual rate of 5.43 million last month, according to economists’ forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

Manufacturing numbers are also on their way, with Markit’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index (PMI) coming out at 9:45 AM ET.

The manufacturing PMI is seen ticking down to 51.5. The services PMI is also expected to show a small drop, down to 53.

2. Loads of Fed Talk on the Table

Following the Federal Reserve Minutes released Wednesday, the week ends with a host of Fed speakers.

At 9:35 AM ET (14:35 GMT) Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan will give the opening remarks at the “Room to Grow: Housing for a New Economy” conference in Dallas.

Kaplan already said this week he sees no need for a change in interest rates.

At 10:15 AM ET, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Fed Governor Lael Brainard will participate in a discussion on “Monetary Policy for the Next Recession” at the 2020 U.S. Monetary Policy Forum in New York.

At the same event, Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will talk at the panel entitled “Financial Markets and Monetary Policy: Is There a Hall of Mirrors Problem?”

That term comes from a 2004 speech by former Fed chief Ben Bernanke made, where he warned against focusing too much on meeting market expectations when determining monetary policy.

"Such a strategy quickly degenerates into a hall of mirrors," Bernanke said.

3. Deere on the Docket for Earnings

This week has shown us that even when megacaps are scarce on the earnings calendar, the results-related swings can be wild.

Double-digit moves were seen by the likes of Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ), Zillow Group (NASDAQ:ZG), Stamps.com (NASDAQ:STMP) and Six Flags (NYSE:SIX).

On Friday a couple of companies could give investors more insight on the overarching concern of the broader market: China.

Agricultural equipment maker Deere&Company (NYSE:DE) will weigh in ahead of trading. The company had been expected to begin to recover from the U.S.-China trade war, but Covid-19 will be a further setback.

Analysts are looking for quarterly earnings of $1.29 per share on sales of about $6.3 billion, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

Chinese internet company Sohu.Com (NASDAQ:SOHU) will report before the opening bell also.

The company recently issued upside fourth-quarter guidance for earnings to be flat to 25 cents per share, with revenue of $465 million to $500 million.

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