NEW YORK (
) -- We're about to see just what Wall Street makes of Ben Bernanke's speech.
The long awaited speech from the Federal Reserve Chairman will take place at 10 a.m. this morning from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Investors and economists have been
speculating all week
about what he'll say. Opinions run the gamut from hinting at further quantitative easing to laying out the Fed's remaining options. Some say that they aren't expecting Bernanke to say much at all about how the Fed will address the economy.
On the surface, it seems that the selloff in equities yesterday snapping a three day win streak indicated that investors had slashed their hopes for this morning's speech. However, with volatility running high, it's difficult to say what the market is pricing in ahead of Bernanke.
Most strategists are expecting a knee jerk reaction to Bernanke's speech, as what often happens in reaction to these types of big events. This
morning's dismal GDP figure
was a reminder that the possibility of a recession is still alive. Futures didn't react much, however, as the market had anticipated that second quarter GDP grew at about 1%.
At this point, we can't rule out any of these three possibilities: Stocks could move up if Bernanke's speech is reassuring. Stocks could drop if Bernanke's speech reiterates what the Federal Reserve had already said and stops short of indicating that the Fed is prepared to act. And of course, investors could interpret Bernanke's words to be what they were expecting all along, in which case any gains or losses would be quickly wiped away over the weekend and the market will open on Monday at pre-speech levels.
-- Written by Chao Deng in New York.
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