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    Federal Open Market Committee

    The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes today did little to quell confusion over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

    The expectation is that the Fed will raise rates sometime in the summer. But the direction of Fed monetary policy has become more complicated than simply pegging a rate increase to what has become an arbitrary consensus estimate.

    That's because there are so many potential policy directions, and Fed ambiguity makes nothing certain.

    Here's how you should read today's latest round of Fed uncertainty.

FOMC Meeting

FOMC Meeting Today: A Tale of Two QEs

FOMC Meeting Today

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Meeting today marks 2015's inaugural meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy makers.

It's only been a month since the last meeting convened. But a lot has changed. It's following big stories in the way of global central, particularly from the European Central Bank.

Here's how this QE story will play out, and why today's FOMC meeting will just be noise in a much more troubling outlook for central banking...

Stock Market Futures Up Ahead of FOMC Meeting and FB Earnings

Stock market futures

Stock market futures for Wednesday, Jan. 28, forecasted a 22-point gain from yesterday's close.

Today, investors are awaiting word from the Fed Open Market Committee. The markets will be paying attention to how the central bank is planning to address interest rates in the coming months.

Here's what else you should know about the stock market today - including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day" - to make it a profitable Wednesday:

Fed Meeting Today Sends Dow Jones 288 Points Higher

dow jones industrial average chart

Today's Fed meeting gave the Dow Jones a boost. The blue-chip benchmark jumped 288 points on news the Federal Reserve plans to be patient with its timeline for raising interest rates.

The S&P 500 jumped 2% on the day, its largest gain for 2014. The VIX, the market's volatility gauge, plunged more than 17% on the day.

Here's a closer look at what moved the markets today...

Proof the Federal Reserve Has No Idea What It's Doing

Federal Reserve

The minutes from last month's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting provided zero clarity on the U.S. Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates in 2015. The markets need to know when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates, or at least what economic conditions it will use to make the decision.

But all we get from the Federal Reserve is waffling. And the economic targets that would trigger action get increasingly vague. Meanwhile, the Fed members make things worse by publicly voicing their uncertainty.

Just look at some of these quotes...

FOMC Meeting: "It's All About Fairy Dust"

FOMC meeting

With the stock markets still a little jittery after this month's mini-correction, the statements that come out of this week's FOMC meeting (Federal Open Market Committee) will be even more cautious than usual.

"The Fed is all about fairy dust," Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said in a Wednesday appearance on CNBC World, noting that the Fed really doesn't want to upset the markets right now.

See why CNBC World keeps inviting Fitz-Gerald back...

Yesterday's Fed News Will Trigger Great Stock Buys… Just Not How It Intended

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I have long said that the Fed has never met a printing press it didn't like nor a dove that it didn't want to set free in the name of higher stock prices. And, yesterday, yet again, Yellen proved it.

Within minutes of releasing its latest set of notes hinting that the Fed will keep rates near zero, the S&P 500 took off on a 34-point gain that is the biggest so far this year. Moving first 45 points from its low of 1,925 to its peak of 1,970 in less than five hours (it later settled slightly lower), the index shrugged off the prior day's losses amidst global growth concerns and weaker European economic data.

This is manipulation of the highest order. It's also proof positive we NEED a correction. Now, more than ever.

A lot of investors will take issue with me on this and I don't blame them one bit - corrections are scary. But, they are also essential when it comes to big returns.

Why the Dow Jones Had Its Biggest Gain of 2014 Today

20141008-dow-jones

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 274 points Wednesday following the Federal Open Market Committee's release of its September meeting minutes. The release marked the last of the Quantitative Easing 3 era.

According to the minutes, many Fed officials are seeking a new way to convince others that they are not prepared to raise interest rates according to the previous timeline.

Here are the top stories from today’s trading…

FOMC Meeting Minutes Release Today Will Be the Last of the QE3 Era

20141008-dow-jones

Ever since former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the tapering of the Fed's current bond-buying program in December, the release of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes have been unsurprising and awash in technical central-banker jargon.

It's followed the same pattern each time: the Fed will have its meetings, release a statement, and then three weeks later they will release the minutes of that meeting as per Fed protocol.

But, here’s why these minutes are important, if for no other reason than the timing of them…

Here's What Rising Rates Really Do to Your Shares

rising rates

There is a lot of lip service being paid to the upcoming stock market crash that we're supposed to expect once the Federal Reserve starts raising rates.

Every time we get close to a regularly scheduled Federal Reserve statement, financial pundits pontificate about the nuances of what the Fed Chair might say, not say, or imply.

It's like clockwork.

But one theme remains constant: any tightening of the Fed's easy monetary policies will spell impending doom for the easy-money-addicted stock market.

The only problem, though, is that historical facts just don't support the fear. In fact, there are opportunities for investment out there no matter what rates do... Full Story

Dow Jones Today Hits Record Close of 17,156 on Fed Meeting News

dow jones today

The Dow Jones today closed at a record high after the Federal Reserve released a statement that indicates its intent to maintain low interest rates for "a considerable time." Markets were quiet for most of the day, as investors were looking to determine whether the central bank plans to boost interest rates before the consensus expectations of mid-2015.

Here are the top stories from the stock market today…

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