The Week Ahead: Housing Reports, a Possible Tax Vote and a Fed Chair Hearing


Powell faces confirmation hearing, and Yellen testifies.

Jerome H. Powell, President Trump’s nominee to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. Janet L. Yellen, the current Fed chairwoman, will testify on Wednesday before the Joint Economic Committee in what could be her final appearance before Congress as the head of the central bank, a post she is expected to pass to Mr. Powell in early February.

The back-to-back hearings should provide an opportunity to compare the views of Mr. Powell and Ms. Yellen on the issues confronting the Fed, including how fast to raise interest rates, how best to prepare for future economic downturns and how far to roll back postcrisis financial regulations. Binyamin Appelbaum

Senate Republicans may vote on tax legislation.

The Senate Republican tax legislation may reach the floor this week, what would be a major step in the party’s hopes for rewriting the tax code. House Republicans already passed their version of the tax cut bill this month and the Senate plan has cleared the Finance Committee. No Democrats have supported the legislation in either chamber.

Because of the slim majority that Republicans hold in the Senate, the vote could be delayed if more than two Republican senators oppose the bill. Thus far, at least four Republican senators have expressed trepidations about the plan. Alan Rappeport


OPEC and Russia will discuss oil output.

Most analysts forecast that OPEC and Russia will agree to extend their production cuts beyond March 2018 when the oil producers’ group meets on Thursday in Vienna. Oil prices have recently risen to their highest levels in two years — now about $63 a barrel for Brent crude — as political instability led to lower output in member countries like Venezuela and Iraq. The recent detention of princes by Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, has also worried markets. Still, the Saudis want to continue to trim output to deal with the lingering oil glut and to support the expected sale of a stake in Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, next year. Stanley Reed


Strong November auto sales are expected.

On Friday, automakers will report new car sales for November, and the industry is expected to show a 1 percent decline from the same month a year ago. But that doesn’t mean sales are flagging.

Consumers continue to snap up sport utility vehicles and trucks at a brisk pace, spurred by a rising stock market, low interest rates and favorable manufacturer incentives. Even with a decline in sales, the total will be the second-best in history for the month of November, according to Kelley Blue Book. The only better November came in 2016. Neal E. Boudette

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