Friday's jobs report that showed hiring in the United States unexpectedly ground to a halt in August is increasing speculation the US Federal Reserve will move to stimulate the economy. But will it help stocks?
Fed action — if it happens — is no longer viewed as the elixir for the stock market it once was.
Wall Street tumbled over 2 per cent on Friday as investors fretted more about the economic outlook rather than looking ahead to another round of Fed bond buying. This week, the question of whether the Fed will step up to the plate with another round of quantitative easing will take centre stage with a highly anticipated speech from President Barack Obama. That could make for another volatile week.
This time last year, anticipation of a second round of quantitative easing, or QE2, sparked an almost uninterrupted rally that lifted the S&P 500 around 30 per cent from August to May.