ALL EYES will be on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week, as the Federal Reserve begins its annual meeting.
Investors will be looking for any signs that the central bank is increasingly worried about global issues or whether it is going ahead with what had been a widely-expected interest rate hike in September.
The Fed has said its decision to raise rates will depend on data such as an improving jobs market and housing market.
Should the Fed signal that it plans to raise rates, investor sentiment towards the United States and emerging markets may further diverge.
Minutes released last Wednesday of the Fed’s most recent meeting revealed its officials were concerned about “recent decreases in oil prices and the possibility of adverse spillovers from slower economic growth in China”, a detail which helped spark the selling.
At the same time, North Korea put its troops on war footing Friday after South Korea rejected an ultimatum to halt anti-Pyongyang broadcasts. The prospect of war, or signs of more global worries, could further dampen US stocks in the week ahead.
Gina Martin Adams, equity strategist at Wells Fargo, estimates the S&P 500 will reach 2,222 over the next 12 months, an 11 per cent gain from the 1,997 the index reached last Friday, after commodity prices bottom and earnings improve.
“The direction of the market is ultimately higher,” she said.