Housing starts, Fed minutes and inflation data: 3 things to watch for on Wednesday

Workers install roof trusses on a home under construction in Vineyard, Utah.
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Here's what you need to know about Wednesday before you hit the door.

Housing starts

The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release its housing starts data for last month before the market opens on Wednesday.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 1.43 million housing starts from January, which would be an 11.1% decrease from the December reading.

Major home builder stocks including D.R. Horton, PulteGroup and KB Home are up more than 15% this year.

Fed minutes

The Federal Open Markets Committee will release the minutes from its latest meeting on Wednesday afternoon, sending investors on a hunt for clues about where interest rates might go in the near future.

The Fed held its benchmark interest rate steady in its meeting last month, but slightly tweaked its post-meeting statement to say that its policy was aimed toward inflation returning to the 2% inflation target. Previous statements said the Fed was trying to get inflation near that mark.

Some investors took the change as a slightly dovish move by the Fed, suggesting that it would keep rates low or drop them further to boost inflation.

Four regional Fed presidents will also give speeches around the country on Wednesday. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who is scheduled to speak in the afternoon, wrote in an essay on Tuesday that he did not foresee changes to the interest rates this year.

Inflation data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is slated to release its Producer Price Index before the bell.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect the index to rise by 0.2% for January, up from a 0.1% gain in December. The last reading showed a 0.3% monthly rise in prices for goods while the price of services remained flat.

On a yearly basis, the report for December showed a 1.3% increase. That was half the growth rate reported in December 2018.

Major events (all times Eastern):

8:30 a.m. Producer Price Index

8:30 a.m. Housing starts

8:30 a.m. Business leaders survey

Major earnings:

Analog Devices (before the bell)

Dish Network (before the bell)

Zillow (after the bell)

Cimarex Energy (after the bell)

Boston Beer (after the bell)

Kaiser Aluminum (after the bell)

Williams (after the bell)

Avis Budget (after the bell)

Hyatt (after the bell)

Pioneer Natural Resources (after the bell)

Mosaic (after the bell)