Yesterday's big move up in stocks seems to have temporarily pushed the bears back into the shadows of Wall Street, and the market looks ready for a slight move higher at the open today.
A sheet of ice literally coats New York City and Washington is opening government offices late due to snow. But that is not expected to stop the testimony of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who begins his two days of testimony before Congress this morning.
European markets are higher, after gains in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Oil is slightly lower ahead of 1030 a.m. New York Time inventory data.
FED SPEAK: "I really think it's a steady as she goes day. The Fed is pretty much signing on to a Goldilocks scenario with a bias towards higher inflation, and I don't think he's going to change that," says our Steve Liesman, who will be reporting on Bernanke's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today.
"I think he wants to keep the perception of Fed policy pretty much unchanged after today. He pretty much has the markets where he wants them. That’s the key," says Liesman.
"There's going to be a lot of political stuff. There'll be a lot of political questions Bernanke will try not to answer."
The markets will also be watching the January retail sales report, and some major corporate news is making headlines.
DaimlerChrysler is expected to announce 10,000 layoffs this morning and plant closings. Comments from Daimler in Germany that it is open to reviewing alternatives for Chrysler is lifiting the stock in overseas trading this morning. Our Phil Lebeau is covering the story from Auburn Hills, Mich. this morning.
Dow component Coca-Cola reported fourth quarter net fell 22% this morning, hurt by a charge related to Coca-cola Enterprises.