All Eyes on the Fed

The Fed meets Tuesday and is widely expected to signal an end to the era of near zero interest rates, for the first time in more than six years.  The two-day meeting ends Wednesday, and the market expects the central bank to drop the word “patience” from its statement, a sign that it could start raising rates as early as June. It will also release economic forecasts, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a briefing at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

But it’s the nuances in the Fed’s forecasts that may provide hints on timing and the speed of rate hikes. These signals could also prove to be market moving, if the central bank makes any changes that hint at a faster rate hike cycle or a very slow course.

Jeff Rosenberg, BlackRock chief investment strategist for fixed income, says markets are watching guidance from the Fed on the long-term unemployment rate and inflation. Those represent the Fed’s dual mandates, and a change in either could affect the pace of rate hikes.


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