Wall Street Eyes Yellen Speech for Rate Clues

by Adam Shell
USA Today

When members of the Federal Reserve speak, Wall Street tunes in. But when Fed Chair Janet Yellen shares her views on interest rate policy, it takes on more of an E.F. Hutton-type moment made famous in the ex-brokerage firm’s advertising slogan, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”

Well, Janet Yellen is speaking Tuesday, delivering a luncheon speech on a topic of great interest to global investors. She will share her thoughts on the economic outlook and monetary policy. In short, she will discuss whether the economy is strong enough to handle another interest rate hike at one of the Fed’s coming meetings. The Fed meets next in April. Wall Street is betting on a rate hike no earlier than June.

Yellen’s comments come at a critical time for markets, as the stock rally that began Feb. 11 has lost some momentum. It also follows the Fed’s decision on March 16 to pare back the number of rate hikes it expects this year to two from four.

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