Bernanke, Europe hold key to aiding rally

Wall Street hopes for more Fed action and clear signs European leaders will follow through on their new urgency to tackle the euro zone debt crisis if U.S. stocks are to build on their best week since early July.

Investors expect the Federal Reserve to take steps to pull down long-term interest rates when policymakers meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to help revive the persistently weak U.S. economy.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on August 26, said the Fed’s Open Market Committee would meet for two days in September instead of the scheduled one day to discuss ways to boost the recovery.

But even with expectations of more intervention to boost the economy, investors will keep a close eye on developments in Europe.

Any lack of progress or backsliding on efforts to get the currency bloc’s fiscal house in order will renew worries the crisis could seriously damage the world financial system and major economies.

“The Fed is really going to dominate next week,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.