It's a busy week ahead for members of the Federal Reserve with speeches from Fed Chair Janet Yellen and rate hike dissenter Neel Kashkari expected to make the case for their votes in support of and against the increase in interest rates.
The Fed last week decided to raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. The decision was near unanimous with only one dissenter, Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari.
But upcoming Fed remarks could make less of a splash on markets as Wall Street focuses on the daily headlines coming from the nation's capital.
Fed members have "become a much less interesting game in town," Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America, said in a phone call. "Now that you have so many fireworks in Washington on the administrative and Congress side, they're taking a bit of a backseat."
The coming week is set to be a gripping one. The House Intelligence Committee will hold its first public hearing on Russia's alleged involvement in last year's U.S. presidential election on Monday. FBI Director James Comey will testify at the first hearing, as well as the second hearing scheduled for March 28. The panel also seeks answers on Donald Trump's unfounded claims that former President Barack Obama had him wiretapped during the election.
Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch will come before the Senate in the coming week for his confirmation hearing. Hearings begin late Monday morning. In an unprecedented move a year earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Obama's pick, Merrick Garland, after Justice Antonin Scalia's death that February.
House Republicans are set to vote on the American Health Care Act on Thursday, sources told Politico. Speaker Paul Ryan's bill, designed to replace Obamacare, has been widely criticized on both sides of the aisle. The Congressional Budget Office calculated that 24 million more people will be uninsured by 2026 under the Republicans' bill, including 14 million more by 2018. Premiums are expected to jump 20% in the individual market in 2018 and 2019.
Outside of Washington, things are a little quieter in the coming week. Founder and president of Titus Wealth Management, Eric Aanes, told TheStreet that markets will be in wait-and-see mode, though any news on tax cuts could fuel more gains.
"We expect the next few weeks to be relatively quiet, and are starting to look toward the release of first-quarter earnings and the French election at the end of April," said Aanes. "We expect investors will continue to trade on the passage of Trump's health care plan and tax cuts that have been proposed by the current administration."
There are still a few earnings reports from the fourth quarter set for release. In the coming week, FedEx (FDX - Get Report) , General Mills (GIS - Get Report) , Land's End (LE - Get Report) , Lennar (LEN - Get Report) , Nike (NKE - Get Report) , Petrobras (PBR.A - Get Report) and Steelcase (SCS - Get Report) will report on Tuesday; Five Below (FIVE - Get Report) and PVH Corp. (PVH - Get Report) on Wednesday; Accenture (ACN - Get Report) , KB Home (KBH - Get Report) and Micron Technology (MU - Get Report) on Thursday; and Finish Line (FINL) on Friday.
On the economic calendar, existing home sales for February will be released on Wednesday; new home sales for February are set for Thursday; and durable goods orders for February is scheduled for Friday.