by Bryan McCormick
Today's calendar contains a diverse set of economic reports, but most attention will be focused on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's first-of-its-kind press conference after the release of the Federal Open Market Committee report.
The FOMC announcement will be moved up from the usual 2:15 p.m ET time slot to 12:30 p.m. ET, a time when most markets are generally quiet. That leaves the door open for additional volatility around that time.
At 7 a.m. ET, the weekly MBA Purchase Applications data will be released. Traders focus on the purchases component of the mortgage report as a leading indicator of new economic activity.
There are no forecasts available, but last week's purchases component came in at 210.8. A reading that is higher by 5 percent or more would be bullish, but a number that is lower by the same percentage would be bearish.
Durable Goods Orders will come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus calls for orders to have jumped by 2 percent from the previous month. The range of forecasts for this release is quite wide, from a bearish -0.1 percent to a bullish 3.5 percent.
The EIA Petroleum Status Report will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET. Before the EIA data comes out, the American Petroleum Institute issues a competing report based on its own supply data.
The forecast for both reports called for a build of 0.8 million barrels. But the API release, which came out last night after the market closed, showed a much larger build of 4.911 million barrels instead.
If the EIA data confirms this number or shows an even larger build, it could be bearish for oil. If the build is smaller than the API's 4.911 million barrels or is a negative reading indicating a draw, it could be bullish for crude.
The EIA is a government body, and the API is a private industry group. The two reports do not always agree either in terms of amount or direction.