There's lots of economic data to peruse next week but investors may spend more time obsessing over the words of various Federal Reserve policy makers scheduled to make public speeches.
Six Fed members are scheduled to give seven speeches next week.
The Fed shocked markets on Wednesday by staying pat on its stimulus policies, deciding against scaling back its $85 billion a month bond purchase program known as quantitative easing.
Investors loved the decision, pouring money into the stock markets and pushing the Dow Jones Industrial average and the S&P 500 index to all-time highs.
But after the euphoria wore off a sense of uncertainty has settled on the markets. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke seemed for months to virtually guarantee that a reduction in bond purchases would be announced in September. Then it didn’t happen.
Why the delay? And when will it actually happen?
Those are the questions investors are now asking, and they will be hoping some answers are provided during next week’s speeches.
Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart will speak in New York on Monday; Cleveland Federal Reserve President Sandra Pianalto and Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George will speak in Chicago on Tuesday; on Thursday Minneapolis Federal Reserve Narayana Kocherlakota will speak in Houghton, Michigan, and George will speak again in Denver; and on Friday Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans will speak in Oslo, Norway, and New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley will speak in Syracuse, New York.
Two measures of the housing market are out Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index and the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Also due Tuesday is the Conference Board’s report on consumer confidence.
On Wednesday reports are due on durable goods orders and new home sales. Thursday data will be released on GDP, and Friday will see reports on consumer outlays and income and a separate report on consumer sentiment.