Fed Taper? Top 3 Things To Watch Ahead Of FOMC, Ben Bernanke Press Conference [VIDEO]

on December 18 2013 1:23 PM

Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday, as investors eagerly wait to hear whether the Federal Reserve will announce tapering its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program.

Ahead of the announcement, Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners, spoke to International Business Times from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange about three main indicators investors should watch for to gauge whether the FOMC will announce tapering stimulus.

“I think the Fed is concentrating on three main things. Of course it’s really growth, it’s inflation. They’re also looking at employment, and two of the three things have actually made improvement,” Newton said. “We’ve seen growth improve. Unemployment’s come down a bit. Inflation has been the real thing that everybody is watching, and it's sort of the question mark because nobody knows.”

The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to release its policy statement at 2 p.m. Eastern, followed by a news conference at 2:30 p.m. from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“If there’s one thing that I’d tell people to look at, it’s the PCE deflator, the personal consumption expenditures part of CPI,” added Newton. “That’s something that can often pinpoint whether there’s real growth in consumer spending, and right now that doesn’t seem to be really at levels that the Fed wants. So that’s a problem.”

Also on Wednesday, data showed housing starts jumped 22.7 percent in November, a nearly six-year high, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units, the Commerce Department said.

In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.67 points, or 0.04 percent, to 15,881.93. The S&P 500 Index fell 4.39, or 0.25 percent, to 1,776.55. The Nasdaq Composite lost 27.39 points, or 0.68 percent, to 3,996.25.

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