Investors brace for clarity on Federal Reserve's taper

After months of agonizing over the so-called taper, investors will finally get some answers from the Federal Reserve this week, CNNMoney reports. Following a two-day policy meeting expected to conclude on Wednesday, the U.S. central bank is expected to indicate when it will start to scale back on the massive economic stimulus programs. When the tapering was discussed in May, the article said, it sent stocks on a volatile ride and sparked worry and confusion among investors.


New reports hint economy lacks energy

Consumer confidence ebbed early this month and retail sales advanced just slightly in August, the latest indications of a lack of momentum in the economy, The New York Times reports. Another report on Friday showed an energy-led rise in wholesale prices last month but subdued underlying inflation pressures. The soft data, however, is unlikely to deter the Federal Reserve from cutting its huge bond-buying program as early as next week, according to analysts. 


Stock futures jump as Summers withdraws from Fed chairman consideration

U.S. stock index futures soared Monday as investors responded to former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers' withdrawal as a candidate for chairman of the Federal Reserve, Reuters reports. News of Summers' surprise decision on Sunday afternoon came before the U.S. central bank meets on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide when and by how much to scale back its asset purchases from the current pace of $85 billion per month. According to the article, Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 17.8 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 167 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 35.3 points.