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Stocks Rise as Federal Reserve Decision Looms

U.S. stocks edged higher on Wednesday as investors gear up to hear the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision in what will be its final policy meeting of the year. The central bank is expected to pass its seventh interest rate increase of 2022.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both edged upward by about 0.7% each while the Nasdaq Composite advanced by 0.6%. In contrast, the U.S. dollar retreated. West Texas Crude Oil (WTI) futures rose 0.3% to $77 per barrel after OPEC+ and the International Energy Agency projected a demand rebound in 2023.

Analysts expected the Federal Reserve to raise its federal fund’s rate to a new range of 4.25% to 4.5%; the highest rate since December 2007. The decision is expected to be partially driven by the annual 7.1% rise in the U.S. Consumer Price Index in November.

“The Fed is still going to focus on the labor market imbalance, a dovish pivot is still a long way off, and in the meantime, companies and consumers have to recalibrate to the impact of higher interest rates and a slowing economy,” BMO Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Strategist Yung-Yu Ma commented in an emailed note.

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