FOMC Preview: Will We Hear Anything New From Ben Bernanke On When Fed Will Taper QE?

Category: Markets / Finance / Jun 18, 2013 4:38PM EDT

Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner with brokerage firm Meridian Equity Partners Inc., speaks about what to expect for Wednesday's highly anticipated FOMC announcement.

Obama may be looking for a new chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama said in an interview Monday Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has stayed in his post longer than he wanted, a signal that the central bank chief will leave when his current term expires next year.

“Ben Bernanke’s done an outstanding job,” Obama said in an interview with Charlie Rose, when asked about nominating him for another term subject to Senate approval. “He’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to.”

All eyes are on Bernanke this week as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets June 18-19. Investors fear that the central bank may begin scaling back its bond-buying program after Bernanke in May said that the central bank could possibly begin to downsize its program in the next few meetings if the economy sees enough improvement. The two-day Fed meeting will end on Wednesday with a press briefing and economic forecast from Bernanke.

The Core PCE price index, which measures the prices paid by consumers for goods and services excluding food and energy prices, hit its lowest level ever recorded for April. The Fed is on record as using PCE as its primary inflation gauge, and economists fear that the economy is entering a disinflationary environment.   

Ahead of the Fed meeting, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released inflation data for May, which showed the consumer price index rising for the first time in three months. Consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in May, according to the Labor Department, while consumer prices outside of food and energy rose 0.2 percent last month. 

Separate data showed housing starts rose 6.8 percent in May, less than forecasts,  to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 units, according to the Commerce Department, missing expectations for a 950,000-unit rate.

In company news, Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:ADBE) is gearing up to report second-quarter earnings after the bell Tuesday. Analysts polled by Thompson Reuters forecast the company to report FY 2013 Q2 EPS of 34 cents on revenue of $1.01 billion, compared with a profit of 60 cents a share on revenue of $1.12 billion a year earlier.