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FOMC meeting, small business optimism —What to know in markets Tuesday

Heidi Chung

The Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) last policy-setting meeting of the year begins and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) will release its latest reading on small business sentiment on Tuesday.

Small business owners have remained generally optimistic, and Wells Fargo expects that upbeat sentiment to have continued through November. “Sentiment probably got a further boost in November from renewed optimism surrounding a ‘Phase I’ trade deal and the ensuing stock market rally,” the firm wrote in a note Friday. “[However], the survey results are instructive—small firms typically have less exposure to trade and global growth, and their optimism is perhaps another piece of evidence that the domestic economy is resilient enough to avoid significant spillover from the faltering sectors of the global economy.”

Economists polled by Bloomberg expect small business optimism to have ticked higher, to 103.0 during November, from 102.4 in October.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference following a two day Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Meanwhile, the FOMC’s two-day meeting begins Tuesday. At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee will announce its interest rate decision and Fed Chair Jay Powell will hold a press conference.

Economists broadly expect the Fed to hold rates steady, after slashing interest rates three consecutive times earlier this year. The FOMC will also release an updated dot plot, policy statement, and economic projections at the conclusion of the meeting.

“Economic and financial conditions have changed only modestly on net since the FOMC met in September, with roughly stable growth, a firmer labor market, and somewhat easier financial conditions, but slightly softer price measures,” Goldman Sachs said in a note Friday. “As a result, we expect only a minor change to the statement’s characterization of the economy, with overall growth still characterized as ‘moderate’ but consumption downgraded to ‘solid.’ We also expect the economic projections to show a lower unemployment rate path and lower inflation this year.”

Notable reports scheduled for Tuesday include AutoZone (AZO) before market open; and Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) and GameStop (GME) after market close.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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