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Week ahead: Fed chief returns to Capitol Hill

06/18/2021 | 06:02pm EDT

There's no rest for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. After hashing it out with fellow policymakers, now he's talking things out with lawmakers. The Fed Chief back on Capitol Hill - virtually, that is - tops the Reuters Business Calendar for the week of June 21.

1. The Fed's learning moments

Markets get another dose of Mr Powell on Tuesday. He will testify before a House committee delving into quote the "Lessons learned" about The Federal Reserve's response to the global crisis. The Fed has thrown trillions of dollars at shoring up the economy.

Powell's testimony comes with the Fed now ready at least to start thinking about how and when to pull back some of that extra help, given the strength of this economic rebound.

Summit Place Financial Advisors President Liz Miller:

"The Fed updating its economic dot plot, taking into account that we are seeing arguably a stronger opening than anyone expected in the spring of 2021, and therefore an expectation that rates will start moving up in 2023."

2. Keeping an eye on the gauge

But any movement in rates or the Fed's bond-buying program will still largely depend on the data....particularly the big "I" word: inflation. The Fed's favored inflation gauge comes out on Friday. The Core Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, excluding food and energy, otherwise known as core PCE, is expected to show a year-over-year surge of 3.5 percent for the month of May. It posted the biggest annual surge in nearly 30 years the month before.

3. Big Tech under the microscope

Going back to Washington.....There's a vote on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that could mark the beginnings of a Big Tech break-up. Lawmakers on The House Judiciary Committee will vote on six anti-trust bills aimed at limiting the power of America's tech giants. Two of the bills take aim at how big companies like Amazon and Alphabet, the parent of Google, create platforms for other businesses to use...and then compete against those same businesses. Another bill would force tech companies to let consumers take their data with them when they transfer to a competing tech platform. Any of the bills that pass the committee vote would then have to be approved by the full House of Representatives.

4. A real deal bandwagon

Ready....set.....click.....Are consumers ready for a mid-year online shopping spree? Amazon kicks off what it is calling "two days of epic deals" when it launches Prime Day, which - actually - isn't just one day. This year it's Monday and Tuesday June 21st and 22nd.

Not to be outdone, Walmart and Target are ready to go toe-to-toe with Amazon and are starting their online discounts a day earlier.

5. Buckling up at the box office

Buckle your seat belts. Hollywood is about to go into hyper drive. "F9: The Fast Saga" comes out Friday June 25th with enough fast-winding twists and turns to give you whiplash. This is the latest installment in the blockbuster car-racing Fast and Furious franchise. The previous eight films have brought in some $5 billion globally, according to promotional materials. The whole gang is back, led by Vin Diesel, but cast newcomers John Cena and Cardi B join the chase....hopefully shaking things up on the big screen and at the box office.


© Reuters 2021
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