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Eyes & Ears Re-focus Back to Janet Yellen Speech

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

(This is Mark Vickery covering for Sheraz Mian.)

U.S. stock markets have begun this week tepidly, without much movement up or down in this, one of the most volatile starts to a trading year in recent memory. Seems there is something for everyone in the markets of 2016.

Aside from the Dow, which currently shows futures down to start Tuesday trading, indexes are again close to unched at this time. Much of this has to do with a speech at the Economic Club over the noon hour (Eastern) by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, where she is expected to address the outlook of the U.S. economy and how it may pertain to raising interest rates. Current expectations are that Yellen will again signal two hikes to interest rates in 2016.

Following Yellen's speech, Fed Presidents from San Francisco and Austin will also speak publicly today - John Williams will be addressing an audience in Singapore and Robert Kaplan takes the microphone in Austin, TX. Analysts will then get busy parsing any differences in language used between these two gents and the Chairwoman. All indicators - sometimes from the mouths of the Fed officials themselves - are that any changes made to rates will be slow and gradual.

Just days from our next non-farm payroll report, we get an indicator from the Paychex Small Business Index, in which Q1 2016 is the best quarter for small business jobs in 2 years, and up 4 percent over the last 3 years. Seattle performed the best among cities for small biz jobs; Dallas and Tampa also did well. Perhaps this is partly the "gig economy" in action, but we'll get a better picture next week with the ADP and BLS reports.

Finally this morning, the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index has just been released for January. It's a lagging indicator, but historically a very sound one. Year over year, home prices rose 5.4 percent nationally, and 0.5 percent month over month. The 10-City rose 5.1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, and the 20-City went to 5.7 percent from this time in 2015 and 0.7 percent from December. Portland, Seattle and San Francisco saw the biggest rises in home prices in the study.

Mark Vickery

Senior Editor

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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