Weakened credit markets await Bernanke speech
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak from Jackson Hole, Wyo., Friday morning to provide an update on monetary policy. In the meantime, some markets players plan to stay out of trading in the immediate aftermath of Bernanke's announcement due to weaknesses from the threat of another recession and the ongoing European sovereign crises. Capital markets strategist, Jim Vogel of FTN Financial, said "markets are poorly positioned to process and absorb whatever Bernanke's message might prove to be this morning." With many analysts predicting another round of quantitative easing to boost a sagging economy in the near term, the financial services industry is waiting to see if the Fed chairman will use his Jackson Hole address to unveil additional doses of accommodative monetary policy. The Fed chair used the same backdrop last year to outline several expansionary policies, including QE2. Moody's Analytics speculated QE3 is all but certain. Moody's made that prediction after it lowered its estimate on GDP growth to about 2% for the second half of 2011. An analyst at Goldman Sachs (GS) said earlier this month that the Fed's dovish stance on the federal funds rate, which will be left near zero until 2013, is a sign that QE3 is coming. Vogel said trading volume has been thin all week in every major market except gold, and investors "focused on selected headlines to the exclusion of others equally as important." "Erratic trading correlations suggest pockets of risk still being 'discovered' as prices move in big gaps," Vogel said. "The bias remains toward disappointed equities after the speech, however." Write to: Kerri Panchuk.