What should be a holiday lull of a week looks set to be anything but, with Wall Street on high alert for the latest twists and turns in the credit crisis, more volatility in commodity prices and key developments in the race for the White House.
Fallout from the credit crisis continues to plague markets, with investors increasingly believing in the likelihood of a federal bailout of home-funding giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Some market watchers expect the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to take action as early as this weekend.
"Look for the Fed and Paulson to take steps on Fannie and Freddie —the time is ripe. The market wants resolution here," said John Schloegel, vice president of investment strategies for Capital Cities Asset Management in Austin, Texas.
Lehman Brothers will also remain firmly in the spotlight, after state-run Korea Development Bank said on Friday that the U.S. investment bank was one of its options for acquisitions. That announcement came a day after veteran bank analyst Dick Bove said Lehman could become a target of a hostile takeover.
Financials aside, the sharp and frequent turnarounds in the direction of the price of oil have played a key role in the market's daily fortunes. Mounting geopolitical tensions between the West and Russia and any economic data showing slowing global growth could tug oileither way next week.
The U.S. presidential campaign also will take a more central role, with Republican John McCain set to reveal his vice presidential running mate, following up on Democrat Barack Obama naming Joe Biden as his pick. And the Democratic Party's national convention kicks off in Denver. Investors will look for how Wall Street-friendly the vice presidential picks are, analysts said.