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After trading lower early in the morning, the U.S. markets are mixed on Monday afternoon. Investors are looking forward to a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day, and five more banks to release earnings later in the week.
At 12:09 p.m.: DJIA: +0.08%, S&P 500: -0.20%, NASDAQ: -0.40%.
1) In December, the Federal Reserve committed to continue buying assets and to keep rates near zero until the U-3 unemployment rate hits 6.5 percent (currently at 7.8 percent) — as long as inflation expectations didn’t pass 2.5 percent. The inflation rate is as good a measure as any to determine if the Fed’s monetary easing policies get too hot, and a high rate could be a sign to let off the gas.
At the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on Monday, Chicago Fed president Charles Evans said that “Given more explicit conditionality, markets can be more confident that we will provide the monetary accommodation necessary to close the large resource gaps that currently exist. Additionally, the public can be more certain that we will not wait too long to tighten if inflation were to become a substantial concern.”
Evans rotates into a voting spot this year, and his focus on removing uncertainty could be a boon for the markets… (Read more.)
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