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Fed Decision: Tomorrow's Headliners

The Federal Reserve's latest decision on interest rates will be in focus Wednesday.



) -- The latest decision on interest rates from the

Federal Reserve

will be in focus Wednesday, although traders do not expect that the central bank will alter its view on policy.

The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, will deliver its decision on interest rates at approximately 2:15 p.m. ET along with a statement. On March 16, the FOMC elected to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at zero to 0.25%, noting that economic conditions are likely to warrant "exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period."

No change is expected to the target rate in this latest decision, which hasn't been altered since it was established during a two-day meeting ended Dec. 16, 2008. However, market participants will once again be on watch to any change in the wording of the accompanying statement, most notably the "exceptionally low" and "extended period" terms.

"For nearly a year, FOMC meetings have been either uneventful or unimportant, or both," Mike O'Rourke, chief market strategist with BTIG, wrote in an email. "As the recovery now broadens beyond a financial markets recovery to a real economy recovery, investors need to be prepared for the FOMC to take monetary policy off the auto-pilot mode that it has been on for some time. As such, FOMC meetings and Fed speeches should garner heightened attention."

Little else is on tap in terms of economic releases. The Mortgage Bankers Association will post weekly mortgage volume activity and rates at 7 a.m. ET, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory data at 10:30 E.T.

On the earnings front


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Sprint Nextel

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will be in focus Wednesday as both companies will open their books on the first quarter.

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should post a profit of 30 cents a share on $9.14 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters. Meanwhile, analysts expect struggling


to record a loss of 18 cents a share in the quarter on $8.05 billion in revenue.

In addition,

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General Dynamics

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Medco Health Solutions



Northrop Grumman

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will be among many others out with quarterly results before Wednesday's opening bell.

The after-market session will also be busy with

Express Scripts




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, among many others, due to report.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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