The Week Ahead: Fed rate meeting, Peabody proceedings, March Madness

Here’s a look at some of the stories Missouri Business Alert is tracking this week:

Top picks

• The SXSW Interactive Festival continues through Tuesday in Austin, Texas. The annual tech event, which kicked off Friday, drew more than 37,000 participants last year, according to organizers, and it annually attracts a contingent of startups and tech enthusiasts from the Show-Me State.

• The Federal Reserve Bank’s Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an interest rate announcement and press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The central bank is expected to raise interest rates to a range of 0.75 to 1.0 percent.

• Local companies scheduled to report earnings include Aratana Therapeutics and Hostess Brands on Tuesday, and Caleres on Thursday.

• On Thursday, Peabody Energy will seek a bankruptcy judge’s approval of its plan to exit bankruptcy. That comes as the St. Louis-based coal company faces a new lawsuit, filed last week, alleging a breach of fiduciary duties by Peabody, certain hedge funds and other parties involved in the bankruptcy.

• The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments tip off with first-round games Thursday through Saturday. The tournaments are a welcome arrival for basketball fans, but not necessarily to companies’ bottom lines: WalletHub estimates there are $4 billion in corporate losses due to unproductive workers during March Madness.

• The Spring North American Bridge Championships started Thursday and continues through March 19 at Crown Center in Kansas City. Organizers expect the event, which attracts some of the world’s top bridge players and occasional celebrity contestants, to draw 4,000 to 5,000 participants.

Day planner


Labor Market Conditions Index released


Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins; NFIB Small Business Optimism Index released; earnings expected from DSW and Volkswagen


Federal Open Market Committee announcement and press conference; retail sales reported; earnings expected from Oracle and Williams-Sonoma


Housing starts reported; earnings expected from Caleres and Dollar General


Consumer sentiment reported

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