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PCE inflation data, Fedspeak, Dell earnings: What to Watch

Yahoo Finance anchors Julie Hyman and Josh Lipton preview the major events slated for Thursday, February 29.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index will be closely watched for the latest inflation data and clues into the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut plans.

Several Fed officials are also scheduled to speak, including Governor Christopher Waller, Atlanta's Raphael Bostic, Chicago's Austan Goolsbee, and Cleveland's Loretta Mester. Their commentary will provide further insights into potential rate cuts.

On the earnings front, reports are expected out from companies like Bath & Body Works (BBWI), Dell (DELL), and Best Buy (BBY).

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For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor's note: This article was written by Angel Smith

Video transcript

JOSH LIPTON: Time now for what to watch Thursday, February 29. Starting out with the economy. Key piece of economic data releasing tomorrow morning. That's the monthly PCE report, Fed's favorite inflation gauge giving us more insight into the central bank's decision to cut rates. Economists expecting the report to show a bigger increase in prices for January.

JULIE HYMAN: And moving over to the Fed, we'll get another round of commentary from four different Fed officials in the afternoon. Wall Street will be listening closely for clues about potential rate cuts after the PCE report. New York Fed President John Williams saying earlier today that the central bank still has, quote, "a ways to go in its battle over inflation." Williams also reiterating that the Fed will likely cut rates later this year.

JOSH LIPTON: And finally, on the earnings front, AB InBev, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Batt & Body Works, and Best Buy all reporting tomorrow. HPE having a rocky start to 2024, down about 12% to start the year, and announcing earnings for the first quarter of 2024. It's going to be after the bell.

JULIE HYMAN: PCE is that all, I mean, is there anything else to say about tomorrow? I mean, we've been talking about it for days now. It feels like weeks, although it's not weeks. But obviously that's going to be a big tradeable event for the market.

JOSH LIPTON: For sure. I mean, listen, we had that higher-than-expected CPI. And that certainly took the market for a turn there. Nvidia kind of rode to the rescue. But eventually, what happens tomorrow?

JULIE HYMAN: I mean, it's difficult to see anything in the numbers that will now change again the market's view that rate cuts aren't coming until later in the year.

JOSH LIPTON: I am very interested in earnings. HPE scheduled a report, this will be January quarter results tomorrow. Some analysts saying going to watch that second half guidance, especially carefully. I know some think there could be some risk there. There's going to be questions about whether the integration of Juniper is going to look like. Remember, they-- HP announced that buying Juniper for that big $14 billion deal.

The stock, as we mentioned, heading into this print, not great year to date, not great really over the past 12 months either. And by the way, our very own Brian Sozzi will be speaking with HPE CEO Antonio Neri about the results. I'm sure a lot more. That will be on Friday. So tune in for that, Julie.

JULIE HYMAN: There's one more thing about tomorrow. It's February 29.

JOSH LIPTON: Interesting.

JULIE HYMAN: Leap year, leap year day.

JOSH LIPTON: That is interesting.

JULIE HYMAN: I don't know what-- I don't know if there are any market implications.