The markets were mixed in Asia on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei fell for the second day in a row, adding 1.3 percent losses to Tuesday’s steep 2.3 percent decline. The yen was trading at 91.67 to the dollar, and at 120.15 to the euro. The Hang Seng climbed 0.25 percent, while the ASX/S&P 200 climbed 0.66 percent.
The markets in Europe were posting gains as New York headed toward its opening bell. London’s FTSE 100 was up 25 percent, Germany’s DAX was up 0.28 percent, and the STOXX 50 was up 0.48 percent. Some analysts are expecting Wednesday’s bounce to be followed by a period of volatility as the markets adjust to the political situation in Italy.
U.S. futures at 8:30 a.m.: DJIA: -0.01%, S&P 500: +0.14%, NASDAQ: +0.15%.
1) Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke will testify before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Bernanke sat before a Senate committee and answered questions on quantitative easing, the sequester, and the state of the U.S. economy. He is likely to face similar lines of questioning today, and to continue his avid defense of the Fed’s open monetary policy. Throughout Tuesday’s session, Bernanke reiterated that the benefits of the Fed’s policy outweigh the risks.
Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, is scheduled to speak about the economy and monetary policy at 4:30 p.m. at Columbia University in New York City. Bernanke’s defense of near-zero interest rates has helped calm some market nervousness, and investors will be keen to see Fisher’s perspective.