US markets are searching for rates insight - The week ahead on Wall St

A SERIES of Federal Reserve officials are due to give speeches after the Fed surprised some investors last week with a hawkish-sounding policy statement that confidently predicted only temporary weakness in inflation.

Now that the Fed has ended its massive bond-buying stimulus, financial markets are keen for any insight on how quickly it will raise interest rates after nearly seven years near zero.

US employers likely expanded their payrolls by a healthy 233,000 in October, according to a Reuters poll. The jobless rate is seen holding at the six-year low reached in September.

The report on Friday will be the highlight of a data-heavy week that includes readings on trade and the services and manufacturing sectors. The ISM’s services sector report on Wednesday is likely to show a similar pattern. Tomorrow, the government is expected to report that the nation’s trade gap narrowed in September, while data from payroll processor ADP on Wednesday is expected to show private payroll growth accelerated in October.

Walt Disney and AOL will report quarterly results on Thursday and Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, reports third quarter results on Friday.

The world’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal presents third quarter results on Friday, and media groups Discovery Communications and Twenty-First Century Fox are due to report quarterly results tomorrow. On Wednesday, Time Warner and CBS will report third-quarter results.