Wall St. Week Ahead: Stocks face the Fed, jobs and earnings

Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:18pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The coming week on Wall Street could be a summer blockbuster, with the marquee featuring a triple bill: the Fed, jobs and earnings.

Of the three, the Federal Reserve has the most potential to upset the market. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to release a statement on Wednesday after a two-day meeting.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke jolted markets in late May by saying the U.S. central bank planned to ease back on its stimulus efforts once the economy improves. Investors have been glued to his every comment since then.

"The Fed can easily either scare investors or encourage investors without having to say very much," said Bryant Evans, portfolio manager at Cozad Asset Management in Champaign, Illinois.

It "tends to create the biggest knee-jerk reactions out of the market."

As part of its quantitative easing policy, the Fed has been buying Treasury debt and other bonds each month to keep interest rates low and promote growth.

Stocks have rallied for most of this year, with both the Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 hitting record highs, partly because of the Fed's stimulus efforts.

The market slid after Bernanke's comments on May 22, with the S&P 500 dropping nearly 6 percent in the month that followed.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid