The daily volume was among the lightest of the year after Monday's lightest trading in 2012. August is a slow season, and investors mostly stayed on the sidelines, anticipating Bernanke's speech.
The data reported yesterday showed that the U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly weakened in August to its lowest in 9 months as consumers turned more pessimistic about the short-term outlook, according to the Conference Board.
On the other hand, the S&P/Case Shiller index of 20 metropolitan areas showed a better than expected numbers; U.S. home prices rose for a fifth consecutive month. The price change wasn’t significant but its sill a positive sign of slow improvement in the housing sector.
By the end of the day, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.17%. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.08 percent while the Nasdaq Composite down 0.13 percent.
This morning, European shares edged lower, as traders cited worries over the weak global economic outlook and nervousness ahead of a key gathering of central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week.
A busy calendar for today ahead of the Jackson Hole conference,
12:00 DE EUR Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Aug)Preliminar
12:00 DE EUR Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (YoY) (Aug)Preliminar
12:30 US USD Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (QoQ) (Q2)
12:30 US USD Gross Domestic Product Annualized (Q2)
14:00 US USD Pending Home Sales (MoM) (Jul)
18:00 US USD Fed's Beige Book
As we said yesterday, regardless of the economic data that goes out throughout the week. All eyes were looking forward to the highly anticipated speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke on Aug. 31 at the central bank’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His address in 2010 preceded a second round of bond purchases, or quantitative easing, to help support the economic recovery.
OIL Crude oil futures were lower during European morning hours on Wednesday, as market participants continued to monitor tropical storm activity in the Gulf of Mexico, amid concerns over a disruption to supplies from the region.
Oil traders were also focusing on closely-watched weekly supply data on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products from the U.S. Energy Information Administration later in the day.