Wednesday is gearing up to be a big day for the Federal Reserve. First, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell heads to Capitol Hill to kick off two days of testimony in front of Congress. He will be delivering his semi-annual Monetary Policy Report. Then in the afternoon, the Fed will also release its June meeting minutes. Investors will be paying close attention to these two potential market-moving events.
Powell’s testimony comes on the heels of a blowout June’s job report that was released on Friday. The U.S. labor market continues to remain the bright spot in the economy, even as other recent economic data points to a deceleration. Stocks sank following the jobs report, as investors worried that the stronger-than-expected data would dampen the chances of a rate cut at the Fed’s July meeting. Nevertheless, the markets are still pricing in a 100% chance of a 25 basis point cut in July. Several economists have noted that the recent jobs report illustrated that the data was not weak enough for the Fed to cut rates at this month’s meeting.
“The recent better-than-expected economic data and the easing of trade related uncertainties following the G-20 give Powell the chance to push back against markets pricing in a July cut. We think he takes this opportunity to do just that, while continuing to note that uncertainties are elevated and global crosscurrents remain,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted in a note Friday.
Now, many are wondering what the central bank’s future monetary policy path will look like, and Powell could provide some clues during his testimony. His language about the current state of the economy, as well as risks and “crosscurrents” will play a crucial role.
In addition to questions about the economy, Powell will likely be grilled on political pressure, as President Donald Trump continues to relentlessly attack the Fed.
Meanwhile on the corporate earnings side, big-box retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) will release quarterly results after the market close.
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
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