U.S. stocks were poised for a flat open on Tuesday, as the Dow and S&P 500 hold near record levels ahead of testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and a flurry of economic data.
Yellen will give the central bank’s semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m., the first of her two days of testimony. Investors will attempt to parse her commentary for clues on the timing of an interest rate hike in the wake of the dovish Fed minutes released last week.
“It’s a classic wait-and-see day,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
“She’s got a very difficult job of trying to talk Wall Street into the fact the January minutes weren’t nearly as dovish as the Street interpreted them, and a June liftoff is still a credible possibility because we are data-dependent.”
The latest indicator on the health of the housing market is due at 9 a.m. with the S&P/Case Shiller home price index for December. Expectations call for a year-over-year increase of 4.3 percent, matching November’s increase, the slowest since October 2012.
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