It’s D-day at the Fed, as Chairman Ben Benrnake (pictured) and the Federal Open Market Committee unveil their latest policy decision. Virtually no-one is expecting a rate move, but, rather, the focus will be on language and how the Fed weighs recent upbeat economic data against fears that a burgeoning recovery is on shaky ground.
Also in the driver’s seat is Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is expected to spell out plans for reviving the flat-lining automaker.
* Cisco Systems leads the earnings parade with quarterly numbers that may reflect a recovery in tech spending. Comcast, Qualcomm and News Corp are also on the docket.
* Data highlights include the ISM’s non-manufacturing numbers and readings on the employment picture from Challenger and ADP.
Warren Buffett calls his bet on railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe “an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States.”
The deal, Buffett’s biggest-ever acquisition, is priced at a premium of 31.5 percent over BNSF’s closing stock price on Monday and values the railroad at $34 billion.
* Results from Kraft will go a long way to answering the big question investors have regarding its offer to buy British chocolatier Cadbury: will it raise its bid, and if so, by how much?
* Chevron’s results will get a boost from rising oil prices, but weak refining margins and sluggish demand for natural gas are likely to weigh.
It started out with two law school friends turning a modest profit on confidential merger news. But after 14 years of cashing in on blockbuster deals, the scheme came crashing down in a case that unfolds like a paperback detective novel. Read the whole story here.
* Shorter term indicators could also provide a lift for markets looking for signs of growth. Weekly jobless claims are expected to have edged down by 10,000 to 521,000 in the latest week.
By Neil Brennan
I was an exchange student studying in Strasbourg when the news first broke. My immediate reaction was the same as everyone else – incredulous. How could it be? As a student of Soviet Political Systems, I knew things were moving quickly – but in our minds, the Wall represented all that divided East from West. It was impenetrable – wasn’t it?
When a fellow student from Saudi Arabia first told me on a street corner that travel between East and West Berlin was now permissible, we both had a hard time believing it. But then the images started to come out of Berlin, and I had to go and see for myself.
* Economic optimists should have a few reasons to cheer from durable goods and housing sales figures — neither of which is expected to be worse than the previous month.