Fed Chairman Bernankeâs comments before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee last week merely supported the FOMCâs October 31st policy statement rather than provided any clues to the likely path of monetary policy in the short-term, and the same was true for the multitude of rhetoric from other Fed officials. With the FOMC viewing the downside risks to growth and upside risks to inflation as roughly in balance, nothing is set in stone for the December meeting. The recent Fed commentary did nothing to indicate that additional policy accommodation is a foregone conclusion, but it also indicated that all options are on the table as well. Even though the recent concern over provisions and other write downs for subprime-related assets has the market betting on a December cut, weâre not calling for another easing until the October and first round of November data are out of the way. The one thing that is certain is that data on consumption, employment and business investment will be extremely important in determining what to expect from the FOMC. The bond market will remain closed on Monday in view of the Veteransâ Day holiday in the U.S., while the NYSE and Nymex will observe normal trading hours. The highlight of Tuesday in terms of economic data will be the release of the September Pending Home Sales Index for the month of September, which often leads activity for existing home sales. Last month the index registered a 6.5% drop. Weâll also see the release of the IBD/TIPP Consumer Sentiment Index for November and the ABC News/Washington Post Consumer Comfort Index. Wednesday will be an important day as weâll get our first look at consumer spending in Q4 with the release of the October Retail Sales Report. As mentioned, the Report will serve as an indicator as to how well consumption spending is holding up in the face of the housing market downturn. Weâll also see the October PPI and September Business Inventories data. The October CPI report will come on Thursday, where the consensus is looking for another moderate 0.2% increase on a month-on-month basis. Initial Jobless Claims, Empire State Manufacturing Survey for November and Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey will also be due. Friday will see the release of the September TICS data and October Industrial Production. There is no Treasury supply due this week. In terms of Fed-speak, Fedâs Kroszner (Board Of Governors, voter) will speak on Tuesday at 18:00 London time. Fedâs Fisher (Dallas, non-voter) will speak at 0:900 on Wednesday on the U.S. economic outlook, and Chairman Bernanke will speak at 14:10. On Thursday Fedâs Evans (Chicago, voter) will speak at 14:45, and Hoenig (Kansas City, voter) will speak at 18:30. Thomas Hoenig was the lone dissenter at the October 31st meeting, voting in favor of an unchanged Federal Funds target rate. The above commentary is provided to subscribers of Ransquawk. To sign up for a free 1 week trial, go to www.ransquawk.com or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.