All eyes are on the Federal Reserve this week, as the Federal Open Market Committee convenes for its July policy meeting. Wall Street is waiting to hear if the central bank will reveal any new clues about tapering its $85 billion a month bond-buying program.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in late May said the central bank planned to scale back its stimulus program once the economy saw “substantial improvement,” sending global stocks into a tailspin. In July, minutes from the FOMC’s June 19-20 meeting revealed about half of Fed policymakers favored ending the stimulus program late this year, but Bernanke eased fears in a speech after the minutes were released, emphasizing the central bank plans to keep supporting the economy.
As speculation continues to swirl that the Fed will scale back on "quantitative easing" in the near future, economists will look to two big indicators this week to see how well the U.S. economy is improving: the initial reading on second-quarter U.S. GDP and the jobs report for July.
U.S. gross domestic product for the April-to-June period is reported Wednesday and is forecast to increase at a 1 percent annualized rate, down from the 1.8 annual rate in the first quarter, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.
When the U.S. Labor Department issues its jobs report Friday, employers are expected to have added 185,000 jobs to the economy in July, according to economists polled by Reuters. That is down from the 195,000 jobs created in June. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 7.5 percent in July from 7.6 percent in June. The FOMC will release a statement on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Doreen Mogavero, head of the Mogavero Lee & Co. brokerage, gave a preview to International Business Times.