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Tuesday trade all about Janet Yellen

On Tuesday, Wall Street's eyes will be fixed on Capitol Hill, where Federal Chair Janet Yellen, a little more than a week after taking the job previously held by Ben Bernanke, testifies on monetary policy and the nation's economic outlook.

Yellen's appearance is of particular interest because it comes on the heels of two weak monthly jobs reports and a spate of market volatility largely tied to turmoil in emerging markets.

In addressing the House Financial Services Committee, the Fed chair could disclose a good deal about her views "on economic and policy trade-offs and the degree to which her views on the economy have evolved in the face of a faster-than-expected decline in the unemployment rate," wrote David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Beyond her prepared statements, Yellen will attempt to answer questions, which are likely to center on her "tapering plans, targets and triggers, inflation, economic growth, labor market improvement, and her longer-term thoughts in regards to the fed funds rate," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.

(Read more: Next up for markets—Yellen)

Yellen "gets bonus points for talking about the reverberation through the emerging market world, and the unwinding of the carry trade based upon the change in Fed policy, and whether or not that factors into her thinking," he said.

Her testimony comes four days after the release of the government's nonfarm payrolls report, which had the economy creating a lower-than-estimated 113,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate falling to 6.6 percent, a five-year low and not all that far from the Fed's threshold for reducing stimulus.

That softer-than-anticipated report followed lousy December data showing a mere 75,000 jobs created.

(Read more: What's the real unemployment rate?)

Still, few believe the disappointing reports will prove enough for the central bank to change course from tapering its asset purchases by $10 billion at each meeting of the Fed Open Market Committee, the next of which is set for March 18.

"We'll get additional perspective this week when new Fed Chair Janet Yellen provides her testimony to Congress, but we expect the central bank will stick with its policy," said Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock.

"Though not likely to differ substantively from Ben Bernanke's dovishness, her views are certain to be dissected by the markets," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group.

"Many global investors are sitting back waiting for a cue from the new leader of the globe's central bank," said Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout. "The Fed's decision to taper on its QE bond-buying program will impact economies across the world more than any other central bank."

In the view of Kelly at JPMorgan Funds, one of the more interesting questions is whether Yellen will stress the Fed's data dependency or reiterate prior guidance that the fed funds rate would remain at current levels for a considerable period after the end of tapering.

(Read more: Bonds beating stocks so far in 2014)

Emphasizing the Fed's data dependency could mean that a continued rapid decline in the unemployment rate might trigger a rise in the federal funds rate in early 2015 and would presumably push bond yields higher immediately, as futures markets currently point to no fed funds hike until December 2015, he said.

On the other hand, Kelly said, the latter approach "could cause a later, but sharper, spike in yields if a stubborn adherence by the Fed to its previous forward guidance is eventually revealed as likely to trigger both asset bubbles and more general inflation."

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson

  • Patti Domm

    Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.

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