Investors turned on their TV’s and computers on Tuesday, eager to hear from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as he testified before Congress in the first of two days of testimony about the economy.
Unfortunately, Bernanke left many disappointed – he didn’t provide any new details on what further steps the US might take to shore up the nation's creaky banking system. The ill state of U.S. banks has weighed on U.S. stocks, which hit a 12-year low on Monday.
"What the market wants to learn from Bernanke he may not even know, and if he does know, may not be able to tell them, says Cary Leahey, an economist with Decision Economics.
Bernanke did say that the fast-shrinking U.S. economy was at further risk from a mutually reinforcing cycle of weak growth and financial market strain.
"To break the adverse feedback loop, it is essential that we continue to complement fiscal stimulus with strong government action to stabilize financial institutions and financial markets," he told the Senate Banking Committee.
"If actions taken by the administration, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability -- and only if that is the case, in my view -- there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery," he said.
Financial markets largely ignored the testimony; stocks cut early gains, while prices for U.S. government debt rose.
And that leads to our Fast Money Reader Poll. Do you expect the recession to end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery?
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CNBC.com with wires