The stock market is likely to remain in a holding pattern until traders hear from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen today and tomorrow in her first testimony before Congress. Yesterday was a quiet day for investors, with the Dow Jones Industrial average closing up 7.71 points at 15,801.79. The S&P 500 rose 2.82 points at 1,799.84 and the Nasdaq composite rose 22.31 points to 4,148.17. Futures point to gains.
- International stock markets were higher today as investors waited for the new Federal Reserve chief's testimony to Congress. Janet Yellen's testimony might give clues to how quickly the U.S. central bank will withdraw its economic stimulus. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $100.25 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.
- There are a couple of pieces of economic data on the schedule this morning, but Janet Yellen's first Capitol Hill appearance as chair of Federal Reserve chair is the headline grabber today. Also on the calendar, the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for December and the Labor Department releases its job openings and labor turnover survey for December this morning.
- Investors and financial experts will be hanging on every word today when new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen makes her first public remarks in an appearance before Congress. Yellen will deliver the Fed's twice-annual report to Congress in a House committee today and a Senate panel on Thursday. Anticipation is running high, given concerns about the economy and the job market and uncertainty about her direction at the Fed.
- A multi-agency government task force looking into cyberattacks against retailers says it has not come across evidence suggesting the attacks are a coordinated campaign to adversely affect the U.S. economy. In a two-page report, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force says the global implications of the retail attacks and the economic impact to private business and individual citizens cannot be overstated.