The Latest on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting (all times local):
Stock markets are up slightly as investors look ahead of an expected rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
After a mixed performance in Asia, European indexes were up modestly and futures pointed to gains on Wall Street later Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.6 percent but Germany’s DAX was up 0.4 percent. Dow futures were 0.9 percent higher, while those for the S&P 500 were up 0.8 percent.
The Fed will likely hike its short-term interest rate after a meeting ends Wednesday. It is expected to raise the interest rate — used as a benchmark for many consumer and business loans — by a modest quarter point to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The central bank has forecast three more hikes in 2019, but investors doubt it would go as planned. Higher rates can slow economic growth and the U.S. economy is expected to cool off in 2019. China and Europe have also shown signs of slowing growth.
The Federal Reserve is expected Wednesday to raise its benchmark rate for a fourth time this year despite President Donald Trump’s repeated assertions that doing so would be a terrible idea.
The president fired off two tweets this week objecting to a rate hike. In one of them, he called it “incredible” that the Fed would consider raising rates again when “the outside world is blowing up around us.”
In the leadup to this week’s meeting, Fed officials have signaled that they’re set to raise rates Wednesday. Still, after Trump’s stream of tweets, continued losses on Wall Street, persistent trade frictions and growing evidence of a global slowdown, some doubts have arisen among Fed watchers. The CME Group’s index of investor expectations has put the likelihood of no rate increase Wednesday at 28 percent — an unusually high level of doubt on the eve of an anticipated Fed announcement.
Source: The Associated Press