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Key Question From Fed Watchers: How Fast?

Jeremy Glaser

For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. Welcome to The Week Ahead, our quick take on what investors should have on their radar screens for the week starting Dec. 14.

The big news this week will of course be the Fed meeting, which will wrap up on Wednesday. After strong employment data and comments from chair Janet Yellen, the bank seems all but certain to raise rates for the first time in years.

The market is anticipating the hike, but a lot of attention will also be paid to the wording of the statement and the press conference scheduled for afterward in order to gauge how quickly rates will rise. Most observers expect the bank to indicate that the pace of increases will be very gradual, and any signs that the Fed will be more aggressive would be a surprise.

On the economic data front, the consumer price index will be released on Tuesday. Last month's data showed an uptick in inflation for the first time in two months. We'll see if price levels will continue to come closer to the Fed's target.

Housing data has been mixed recently, and Wednesday's building permits and housing starts data will give us a glimpse into how the new home market is performing.

There isn't much in the way of earning as we get close to the end of the year. We will, however, get reports from FedEx ahead of the crucial holiday shopping seasons, an update from Oracle, and a look at how the turnaround at Olive Garden parent Darden is proceeding.

Stay tuned to Morningstar for our take on all of these stories throughout the week.