Fed Chair Janet Yellen avoided saying when exactly she expects the next interest rate hike, but added that ''positive economic forces have outweighed the negative'' for the United States. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Janet Yellen left the markets guessing on the timing of the next interest rate hike leaving out language she used as recently as May 27th saying hikes would be appropriate "in the coming months." But she did make it clear she felt the economy was in good shape, and that rates were still coming. She said, if incoming data are consistent.... (SOUNDBITE) JANET YELLEN, CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "...with labor market conditions strengthening and inflation making progress toward our two percent objective, as I expect, further gradual increases in the federal funds rate are likely to be appropriate." Yellen listed four main risks to the U.S. economy - slower demand and productivity, and inflation, and overseas risks - and then she downplayed them all. Just as she did with the most recent jobs report, which she called "disappointing," but warned against attaching too much significance to it on its own. Russell Investment Group's Stephen Wood: (SOUNDBITE) STEPHEN WOOD, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, RUSSELL INVESTMENT GROUP, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Absent any really terrible data, I think they're inclined to raise rates. So, I think, meetings are live. The odds of June dropped dramatically, but July and September, I think, are still live meetings." It was the last scheduled public comment from any U.S. central banker before a key policy meeting next week.