Fed hikes rates in sign of economic confidence

The incremental hike marks the third such hike in 2017 and sets the stage for what will likely be three or four adjustments in 2018

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Sticking to a script that economists and real estate analysts had long anticipated, outgoing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Thursday announced a modest benchmark interest rate hike of between 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent, a move widely perceived as a reflection of confidence in the U.S. economy.  The 25 basis point hike, announced at the conclusion of the Central Bank’s two-day Open Market Committee meeting, was supported by all but Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari, who called for rates to stay unchanged. This is the third such hike in 2017 and sets the stage for what will likely be three to four adjustments in 2018. "In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-1/4 to 1‑1/2 percent," according to a statement issued following the committee meeting. "The stance of monetary polic...