Speed Reads

With bated breath

Markets await Fed interest rate hike

With markets essentially certain the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed in on the 20,000 level as it set its seventh straight daily record and its 15th in the ongoing post-election rally, closing Tuesday at 19,911. The benchmark U.S. stock index has gained more than 10 percent since the Nov. 8 election as investors anticipate business-friendly policies and stimulus spending by President-elect Donald Trump. Fed policy makers will give their first economic forecast since the vote as they conclude their two-day meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Stocks stalled early Wednesday as markets braced for the Fed to raise its target interest-rate range of 0.5 to 0.75 percent, a quarter point higher than the Fed set with its last rate increase a year ago.