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August retail sales could answer a lot of questions for markets — but more important will be a flurry of Fed speakers.
At the top of the list is Fed Gov. Lael Brainard, who speaks in Chicago Monday. After the hawkish comments of Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren Friday, traders are watching to see if she will stay firmly in the dovish camp, and as for Thursday's retail sales, it is the most important data the Fed will see before it meets on Sept. 20.
Many economists have been expecting the Fed will stay on the sidelines at its September meeting, and December is viewed as more likely for the Fed's second rate hike in 10 years.
Brainard is "someone inside the Yellen circle who tends to want to wait. It will be interesting to see how cautious she is," said Diane Swonk, CEO of DS Economics.