London (CNN Business)Happy Friday. A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
This week in markets has mostly been about what Jerome Powell has to say.The Federal Reserve chairman speaks Friday at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s his biggest test yet.My CNN Business colleague Donna Borak in Washington on the stakes: “Powell will need to assure markets — which appear to have already assumed another rate cut will come in September — that the Fed will do whatever it can to support the economy amid growing fears of a US slowdown. At the same time, he can’t overpromise and risk further turmoil.” Read MoreAnalysts at Morgan Stanley warn that all the anticipation could lead to disappointment.”It is premature to expect a signal on the size of the Fed’s September move,” economist Ellen Zentner and strategist Matthew Hornbach wrote in a research note this week, noting that there will be more data to decipher between now and the next meeting.They expect Powell will try to maintain flexibility with a reminder that the Fed “will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” That’s hardly the big promise that investors are banking on.Remember: Powell framed the rate cut in July, the first since 2008, as a “mid-cycle adjustment,” dismissing the idea that it was the beginning of a series.Markets balked, and President Donald Trump has continued to hammer Powell ever since, pressuring the Fed to cut rates by as much 100 points to offset the trade war.That type of move would typically be reserved for a severe downturn or a recession. And the US economy is still growing, despite some signs of turbulence.Investor insight: Powell’s Jackson Hole speech is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET. Expectations could soon run up against reality, but Jackson Hole has surprised before.The next US recession may be self-inflictedMy CNN Business colleague Matt Egan in New York has a thoughtful new piece analyzing how two big economic events — Trump’s tax cuts, and his trade war with China — may have set the stage for a self-inflicted recession.How Trump's tax cuts and the trade war have set the stage for a self-inflicted recessionFrom Matt: “The biggest problem facing the United States economy is a slowdown that has struck China, Germany, South Korea and other manufacturing powerhouses.”Trump’s escalating trade war with China has only amplified the pre-existing weakness overseas. That’s started to affect America’s factories, which are contracting for the first time in a decade, he points out.And that’s not all. “The United States is also coming off the 2018 sugar high of Trump’s tax cuts and the bipartisan surge in government spending. There was always a risk that stimulating an already-healthy economy would backfire by creating a boom-to-bust scenario.”Read more from Matt’s story here. Up nextRemember, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks at 10 a.m. ET.Also today: US new home sales hit at 10 a.m. ET as well.A busy retail earnings week ends closes out with results from Foot Locker.This weekend: The G7 summit kicks off in southwestern France.