As expected, the Federal Reserve raised the fed funds rate 25 basis points on Wednesday, leaving its forecast for 2017 hikes at three. Some analysts' had floated a thesis that the committee would move to four hikes given the recent uptick in inflation. This marginal disappointment saw interest rates fall and the U.S. weaken after the statement. (See also: Where Does the Fed Go From Here?)

It was a relatively quiet week for U.S. equity markets. After posting gains late Wednesday all three indices gave up the gains into the end of the week, finishing slightly lower on the week.

United States

There is an array of Fed speakers this week with all eyes on Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari who was the lone dissenter on the Fed's decision to raise interest rates. Kashkari is a new voting member, so investors will be hoping he provides some clarity on his decision for no change. Kashkari is scheduled to speak Thursday at the Community Development Research Conference in Washington. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will deliver the opening remarks at the conference.

It's a quiet week on the local data calendar with existing homes sales on Wednesday, new home sales on Thursday and durable goods orders due Friday.


On Monday, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee will deliver its first hearing on claims Russia was involved in November's election. Both FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers are set to testify.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will head a two-day meeting of 68 countries where they will discuss strategy to counter ISIS. The coalition was established under President Barack Obama in 2014 and will become more active under President Donald Trump. (See also: Trump Meets Merkel and CEOs of BMW, Siemens)


There is tier one data out of Europe this coming week. Inflation numbers for February are expected to show year-on-year inflation has climbed above 2 percent, which will have the Bank of England considering its next move. With highly accommodative policy and a weakening currency, the central bank is at risk of letting inflation get out of control. However, the continuing Brexit saga is making policy decisions complex. (See also: Countdown to Brexit: What Is Article 50?)

Further evidence of the health of the U.K. economy will come on Thursday with February's retail sales report. After a sluggish January report, retail sales for February are expected to have bounced backed.

Elsewhere, French, German, and eurozone PMI reports are due Friday.

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