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Stocks Ease Higher in Quiet Session

Economists at Capital Economics argued Monday that there is still enough impetus for the Federal Reserve to provide additional monetary stimulus in the coming weeks to support the economy -- most likely with a third round of asset purchases when policymakers next meet in September; though this time the focus would be on buying mortgage-backed securities rather than Treasuries, the firm said.

"The July jobs report should do little to change expectations for a further move in September from the Fed," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak.

A Goldman Sachs report Monday said that easing seems likely at the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting in September unless economic data improves materially by then.

The most likely option at the meeting is the extension of the forward rate guidance to mid-2015, the firm's economists think. "Balance sheet expansion at the September meeting can't be ruled out, but still appears more likely in late 2012 or early 2013."

Goldman Sachs added that while the Fed may take action soon, Congress is unlikely to do so; they expect little further developments on the fiscal cliff until after the November election.

Over the weekend, European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure told Slovakian newspaper Hospodarske Noviny that the ECB wouldn't let sovereign bond yields increase as a result of investors bets against the currency and should find ways to channel loans into the real economy.

"Whether our funding operations should be better targeted to the financing of the real economy, and particularly of SMEs, even though the implementation would obviously be difficult, would deserve further thoughts," he said.

He also told the paper that "any means to channel ECB liquidity where it is most needed, namely to households and enterprises, is worth considering."

Paul Donovan, global economist at UBS, said that Coeure gave a "pretty explicit indication that the ECB would cap yields to prevent Euro breakup."

In other European news, international inspectors have finished their review of Greece's progress in fulfilling the requirements of its second bailout, with plans to return in September to decide on whether to provide Greece with more aid.

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