Fed decision dominates agenda

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The Federal Reserve's interest-rate announcement this afternoon is today's big event, though there are other items on the calendar.

Weekly mortgage applications get the ball rolling at 7 a.m. ET, followed by the fourth-quarter current account at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect a trade deficit of $87.6 billion versus $94.8 billion in the third quarter. While it's unlikely to affect trading, the number provides useful information about the direction of the U.S. economy, especially its burgeoning export sector.

Crude-oil inventories will be reported at 10:30 a.m. ET and could sway sentiment among energy stocks.

The main items in the Fed's 2 p.m. ET announcement are the pace of quantitative easing and plans for further reductions. Economists expect Treasury purchases to be trimmed by $5 billion a month to $30 billion and mortgage-bond purchases to be reduced by $5 billion to $25 billion. They also think the overnight lending rate will remain unchanged at 0.25 percent.

In addition, FedEx, General Mills, and KB Home will report quarterly results before the opening bell. Jabil Circuit, Cintas, Guess, and ExOne follow in the afternoon.

Tomorrow's calendar includes earnings from ConAgra and Lennar in the morning, then Nike and Tibco Software after the close. Initial jobless claims, existing home sales, and the Philadelphia Fed's regional index are also the agenda.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: SPX

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