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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Night Futures: Time for Taper?

by Calculated Risk on 12/15/2013 08:22:00 PM

• At 8:30 AM ET, the NY Fed Empire Manufacturing Survey for December. The consensus is for a reading of 4.5, up from -2.2 in November (above zero is expansion).

• At 9:15 AM, the Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for November. The consensus is for a 0.6% increase in Industrial Production, and for Capacity Utilization to increase to 78.4%.

This will be a busy week for economic data, and the focus will be on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's last FOMC meeting and press conference on Wednesday.

From Pedro Nicolaci da Costa and Jon Hilsenrath at the WSJ: Tough Question for Fed: Time to Act?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in June set out a three-part test—based on employment, growth and inflation—for reducing the $85 billion in monthly bond buys. He said the Fed's policy committee wants to see progress in the job market, supported by improving economic activity and an inflation rate rising toward its 2% target.

"If the incoming data are broadly consistent with this forecast, the committee currently anticipates that it would be appropriate to moderate the monthly pace of purchases later this year," Mr. Bernanke said at a news conference.

Recent data show progress on the first two criteria, but not on the third. The inflation rate has been persistently below the Fed's objective and reflects weak consumption and wage growth, which bode poorly for the economic recovery. Fed officials will likely differ on whether the gains overall are good enough to clear Mr. Bernanke's hurdles.
Schedule for Week of December 15th

FOMC Projections Preview: To Taper, or Not to Taper

The Nikkei is down about 0.5%.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P futures are up 2 and DOW futures are up 20 (fair value).

Oil prices have mostly been moving sideways with WTI futures at $96.71 per barrel and Brent at $109.48 per barrel.

Below is a graph from for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $3.22 per gallon.  If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.

Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by