Here come the Fed meeting minutes ...

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janet yellenCarolyn Kaster/APFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

The Federal Reserve at 2 p.m. ET will release minutes of its meeting in December.

At that meeting, the Fed raised its benchmark federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.25% to 1.50%, as had been widely expected.

The Fed hinged its decision on the US economy's faster-than-expected growth and strong job creation. It expects to raise rates three times this year.

"Our attention will focus on three areas: inflation, labor markets and fiscal policy," said Lewis Alexander, the chief US economist at Nomura, in a preview on Tuesday.

Some members of the Federal Open Market Committee have attributed weak inflation to technological changes and a weakened link between the unemployment rate and price changes. But Fed officials including the Chicago Fed's Charles Evans and the Minneapolis Fed's Neel Kashkari voted against raising interest rates partly because inflation remains short of the Fed's 2% target.

The FOMC statement bumped up its assessment of the jobs market to show that members expected it to "remain strong," not to "strengthen somewhat further." At 4.1%, the unemployment rate was where they had forecast it would be in 2018.

And finally, Fed Chair Yellen was asked many questions about tax cuts (and bitcoin, of course) during her press conference. "If the minutes lack a discussion of federal spending, then we would view federal
spending as a significant upside risk to Fed policy," Alexander said.

More to come ...

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