Ben Bernanke may be done with the
two-day meeting on interest rates, but Thursday is already shaping up to be his busiest day of the week -- and perhaps the most heated one.
Bernanke will appear Thursday on Capitol Hill to testify on his role in the
Bank of America
last year. BofA CEO Ken Lewis testified earlier this month that both the government and BofA were aware that the global financial system was in fragile condition, and Lewis even considered scrapping the transaction because of "significant accelerating losses."
However, Treasury and Fed representatives pressured Lewis to delay any such action, he said. Bernanke and other Fed officials sharply criticized BofA and Lewis in subpoenaed emails, according to reports.
The news gets worse for Bernanke. On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee accused the Fed of engaging in a "cover-up" and that the central bank "deliberately hid concerns and pertinent details regarding the merger from other federal regulatory agencies," according to a statement by Issa.
While the fireworks from Bernanke's meeting with officials will gain a lot of media attention, there is plenty else for investors to manage Thursday. On the economic docket, weekly initial jobless claims data and the final reading on first-quarter gross domestic product will be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Jobless claims probably won't break the 600,000 level this week, and the GDP reading isn't expected to change from the revised number of -5.7%. Any surprises, though, will certainly move the markets.
Turning to stocks,
are among a handful of companies expected to report quarterly earnings results Thursday.