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Following a two-day meeting that began yesterday, the Fed issued another FOMC boilerplate assessment of the economy.

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions. Although the hurricanes caused a drop in payroll employment in September, the unemployment rate declined further. Household spending has been expanding at a moderate rate, and growth in business fixed investment has picked up in recent quarters. Gasoline prices rose in the aftermath of the hurricanes, boosting overall inflation in September; however, inflation for items other than food and energy remained soft. On a 12-month basis, both inflation measures have declined this year and are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further. Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent.

Market Reaction

There was little reaction in the markets, most hovering close to break-even. The VIX, a measure of S&P volatility dipped below 10.

October was the least volatile month on record.

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The yield curve flattened a bit. As of 2:00 PM central, yield on the 30-year bond was down 1.5 basis points while the yield on the 2-year note was up 2.5 basis points.

Silver jumped 41 cents, about 2.5%, the biggest gain to be found. Gold was up $5 or so, less than 1/2 of a percent.

December Hike Coming

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Mike "Mish" Shedlock