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Fed dominates economic calendar

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

This week's calendar focuses on the Federal Reserve's interest-rate decision on Wednesday afternoon.

While economists expect the central bank to leave the benchmark overnight rate unchanged, attention will focus on the commentary and subsequent press conference for clues about how quickly asset purchases will be reduced.

There are less important reports today, starting with the Empire manufacturing index at 8:30 a.m. ET and the NAHB's survey of homebuilder sentiment at 10 a.m. ET. Economists predict a reading of 0.8 for the Empire, up from -1.4 in May.

NAHB's index is expected to increase from 44 to 45. While neither release tends to move markets, they will provide clues about the strength of manufacturing and homebuilding.

The consumer-price index and housing starts follow tomorrow. In addition to the Fed, Wednesday brings weekly mortgage-loan numbers and changes in crude-oil inventories.

Existing-home sales and initial jobless claims are the main items on Thursday, and nothing is scheduled for Friday.

The main earnings reports also occur on Wednesday, when FedEx, Finisar, Jabil Circuit, Micron, and Redhat release numbers. FNSR had bullish call buying last week.

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