Investors will be paying close attention this week to a Federal Reserve policy meeting for signs of an interest rate hike in 2015 and digest a GDP report for the 2nd quarter that will shed more light about the strength of the American economy.
The U.S. central bank hasn’t raised interest rates since 2006 and has left its benchmark federal funds rate just above 0 percent since December 2008 during the depths of the global recession to help stimulate lending and business activity.
During the last Fed policy meeting in June, Fed Committee members stated in a released statement that they expect to raise interest rates in 2015 but also noted that it depends on economic data while falling short of providing a specific roadmap for the timing of rate hike.
Still a majority of Fed Committee members expect to raise the federal funds rate from 0.125 percent to 0.625 percent by the end of 2015, even as debate is heating up in the central bank about whether two interest rate hikes are needed in 2015 with seven of seventeen expecting no more than one interest rate hike in 2015.
There is no press conference scheduled following the Fed’s July meeting on Wednesday.
The next press conference isn’t scheduled until after the Fed’s policy meeting in September when some economists are expecting the Fed to begin raising interest rates.
2nd Quarter GDP
On Thursday the U.S. Commerce Department will release their advance report for 2nd quarter GDP.
Economists from briefing.com are forecasting 1.3 percent growth for the 2nd quarter following a contraction of -0.2 percent in the first quarter, according to the third and final estimate.
Some of the other economic data scheduled for this week includes durable orders on Monday for the month of June, consumer confidence released on Tuesday for July, and pending home sales for June that will be reported on Wednesday.
Full Economic Calendar
Monday- Durable Orders (June)
Tuesday- Case-Shiller 20 city index for May, Consumer Confidence for July
Wednesday- Fed Policy meeting and rate decision, Pending home sales for June, MBA Mortgage Index (7/25), Crude Inventories
Thursday- first estimate GDP report (2nd quarter), initial jobless claims, continuing claims, natural gas inventories.
Friday- Chicago PMI for July, Michigan Sentiment (July), Employment Cost Index