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Federal Reserve's Barkin, Daly set to speak – What to know in markets Wednesday

Public remarks from two regional Federal Reserve speakers will punctuate an otherwise light day for new economic data and corporate earnings releases on Wednesday.

Richmond Federal Reserve President Tom Barkin is poised to deliver comments to the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce at 12:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, in a speech entitled, “Fostering Entrepreneurship.”

Barkin’s remarks come after the Richmond Federal Reserve’s monthly survey released Tuesday showed that manufacturing activity in the region improved in August, with the composite index rising to positive 1, from negative 12 in July. Results were led by increase in indices tracking monthly shipments and new orders, while an index measuring employment conditions declined during the period.

Later, at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly will discuss inflation targeting in New Zealand, at the country’s Reserve Bank and International Monetary Fund Conference.

Public commentary from Federal Reserve speakers this week has fallen under the shadow of remarks from central bank officials last week at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. Commentary from that event underscored more hawkishness from some FOMC members than markets had expected, with several speakers asserting they felt rates could remain on hold until economic data showed signs of further deterioration.

“We appreciate that some of the more hawkish FOMC members have been quite vocal recently, but they seem still to be outnumbered,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note Friday.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in his own remarks at the summit, highlighted the difficulty central bank officials had in steering monetary policy in an unprecedented era of trade policy uncertainty, while maintaining the Fed was committed to acting “as appropriate” to maintain the current economic expansion.

Neither Barkin nor Daly vote on interest rates in this year’s Federal Open Market Committee. However, both are present in deliberations as part of regularly scheduled policy meetings – with the next set to take place in September 17 and 18.

As of Tuesday afternoon, markets priced in with near certainty that rates would be lowered by a quarter point after the Fed’s September meeting, bringing the fed funds rate target band down to between 1.75% to 2.00%. And markets priced in a greater than 50% probability that rates would be 50 basis points below current levels after the Fed’s October meeting.

Earnings calendar

Meanwhile, luxury company quarterly results command the earnings calendar on Wednesday, with Tiffany (TIF) and Calvin Klein-parent company PVH (PVH) set to report.

The logo of U.S. jeweller Tiffany & Co. is seen at a store at the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street in Zurich, Switzerland October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Each has faced its own challenges, against a backdrop of ongoing macroeconomic headwinds and shifting consumer trends.

Analysts expect Tiffany to report earnings of $1.05 per share on revenue of $1.06 billion for the quarter, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

The company’s closely watched quarterly same-store sales may underperform against last year’s, given the strong 7% advance seen during the year-ago period. This year, the jeweler has had to contend with a stronger U.S. dollar, which has put pressure on the tourism it relies on to drive sales. An escalation of tariffs, as well as unrest in Hong Kong, have contributed to consensus analysts’ estimates for Tiffany to report a comparable same-store sales contraction of 0.9% in the Asia-Pacific region. Overall company comps are expected to have fallen 1.5%.

Meanwhile, clothing company PVH is expected to report a year-over-year decline on both top- and bottom-line results, after the company disappointed investors last quarter with a cut to full-year profit guidance. Adjusted earnings are expected to come in at $1.88 per share, on revenue of $2.33 billion for the quarter.

The owner of brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Van Heusen said last quarter the time that it saw “particular softness across the U.S. and China retail landscape,” against a “volatile and challenging macroeconomic backdrop.” PVH generates less than half of total revenue from the U.S., and 12% of sales from Asia.

Other companies set to report quarterly results Wednesday include Coty (COTY) and H&R Block (HRB).

Mark your calendars!

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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