Jeremy Glaser: For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. Welcome to The Week Ahead, our quick look at what investors should have on their radar for the week starting Sept. 14.
The market has been obsessed for months with the "will they or won't they" question on if the Fed will raise rates at its September meeting. We'll finally get the answer this week after the Central Bank's meeting concludes on Thursday.
The decision is still a toss-up. One one hand, the U.S. labor market appears to be strong enough to warrant an increase and other indicators show the economy is moving forward.
But on the other hand, inflation remains low, and it is an open question how concerned the Fed governors are about the impact of issues overseas.
Other policymakers outside the U.S. certainly seem to think the Fed should wait for the sake of the global economy and have been speaking out against a rate hike. It will be fascinating to see if these pleas have had any impact on the central bank's thought process.
No matter what happens, investors shouldn't be shocked by more volatility this week as the market anticipates and reacts to the decision, and as investors look past this month and try to discern what the path of future rate hikes will look like.
Outside of the Fed, we'll also see some other important economic data releases.
Retail sales data for August will give us some information on if consumers are pulling back at all in the face of market volatility and downbeat economic headlines from China.
We'll also be watching the industrial production numbers for further signs of stabilization in that sector.
There will also be some housing data, with starts and building permits. Housing is likely to be a key driver of growth throughout the rest of 2015, so we're looking for continued strength here.
It will be mostly quiet on the earnings front, but there will be a handful of reports.
One to watch is FedEx. With its global footprint, the firm has a good view on the state of the global economy, and management's commentary can often provide some helpful clues as to what is really happening.
Stay tuned to Morningstar for our take on all of these stories throughout the week.