It should be a slightly more hawkish Ben Bernanke presiding over his final press briefing Wednesday, even though many Federal Reserve watchers say odds are against a move to taper back on stimulus just now.
Certainly Wall Street is prepared to hear the Fed chairman portray it as being closer to paring back its quantitative easing program, which has helped balloon the Fed's balance sheet to $4 trillion. But he is also likely to discuss the need for more sustainable gains in the job market and about the lack of inflation. The Fed releases its statement and latest economic projections at 2 p.m., ahead of Bernanke's 2:30 p.m. briefing.
"We still think they're not going to do anything tomorrow in terms of actual action," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management. "We think they're going to punt until January. Obviously it depends whose survey you look at, but there are a significant number of managers that believe—and it wouldn't blow me out of the water—if they did do something tomorrow. The odds, I think, are greater than 50 percent that they wait until January."