As the week begins, two things are clear: US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is preparing for his second press conference this year and there's no resolution yet to the debt crisis gripping Greece.

Bernanke will speak early on Thursday morning New Zealand time after the Fed's policy committee releases a statement on the state of the US economy and what the central bank plans to do about it. Most market watchers aren't expecting any changes in strategy.

As for Greece, well, the latest cliff is fast approaching. It's hard to see how any real progress is being made. The government reshuffled the cabinet last week ahead of an EU finance ministers meeting in an effort to create a unity government to check lingering opposition to the stiff austerity measures taken and the ones pending.

But protesters in Athens haven't been placated and the violence that flared last week appears certain to repeat itself. Mohammed El-Erian, the head of PIMCO, has told an Italian newspaper that Europe risks wasting billions of additional dollars on trying to keep the Greek economy from failing.

It should be no surprise then that global equity investors are rethinking where best to put their money. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.36 per cent higher and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.3 per cent.

While the gains helped both the Dow and S&P 500 snap six weeks of losses, they were modest and there's still a lack of clarity over the US economic recovery.

On Friday, the International Monetary Fund trimmed its forecast for US growth to 2.5 per cent this year from 2.8 per cent, and it lowered its forecast for 2012 to 2.7 per cent from 2.9 per cent.

In a recent speech, Bernanke said the US recovery was "frustratingly slow" and this week's home, durable goods and GDP data aren't likely to rewrite that main theme.

"The outlook for the housing data remains very weak, and there's been very little evidence of any turnaround," David Semmens, a US economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, told Bloomberg.

American consumers - battered by a weak jobs market and high oil prices - are losing confidence in the outlook, and that could prove a challenge for corporate profits and hopes for stronger growth in the second half of the calendar year.

"All of the intermediate-term indicators are on 'sell' signals," Larry McMillan, president of McMillan Analysis Corp. in Morristown, New Jersey, told Reuters.

The S&P 500 is roughly 7 per cent below a three-year high hit in early May, and many strategists see a test of 1,250 on the index as likely, according to Reuters.

And so the ball is in Bernanke's court. He has a greater ability to add or subtract from the wave of pessimism that has washed through the financial markets in the last one to two months. He need not break dramatically with his sober message.