So far, Bernanke is neither supporting the idea of ending Quantitative Easing or defending it vigorously, which for the time being is keeping the dollar bid against all currencies except for the Japanese Yen. There is still a Q&A session that will most likely go to lunchtime so keep an eye on the headlines for any further clarity on his stance.
Meanwhile this morning's U.S. economic reports should ease some of Bernanke's concerns about the economy and make those members of the FOMC who support tapering off asset purchases more confident in their views. Consumer confidence soared and new home sales rose by its largest amount since April 1993. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index hit 69.6 in the month of February, up from 58.6. Improvements in the labor market and rise in equity market valuations made investors more optimistic about present and future conditions and this uptick is consistent other sentiment reports. The housing market is also gaining momentum according to the Commerce Department who reported a 15.6% increase in new home sales. This was the biggest increase in nearly 2 decades and brought the total amount of new homes sold to its highest level since 2008. The only problem is that the average price of a home sold dropped 5% but at least these homes are remaining on the market for a shorter period of time. There is definitely signs of increasing momentum in the housing market and this along with the rise in consumer confidence and manufacturing conditions in the Richmond region will sit well with the central bank.