Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s first testimony before Congress is the big event for markets in the week ahead, as traders sift through economic data to see if the softness that showed up in January’s jobs is more about bad weather, or something more worrisome.
Yellen, who took the helm at the central bank Monday, has not been an active part of the speaking circuit like other Fed officials. So traders will study her every nuance to see if she is as dovish as they expect her to be, while also promoting a tapering back of the Fed’s bond-buying program. The Fed has cut back twice and is now buying $65 billion a month, a program expected to wind down before year end.
There are some important economic reports to watch, including Thursday’s retail sales, which is expected to be flat—another casualty of the cold and snowy winter. Cisco reports on Wednesday and PepsiCo and AIG on Thursday.