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Wednesday's Headliners: FOMC

The Fed's minutes will steal attention in the first trading day of the new year.
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After a tumultuous -- but ultimately positive -- 2007, traders will return to work Wednesday with a clean slate and a fresh batch of economic data to begin the new year.

The morning will see the release of the December ISM Manufacturing Index, as well as the report on November construction spending. The data will be precursors to Friday's key nonfarm payrolls report, which serves as an important gauge of the economy and likely will be a big market mover for Wall Street.

Later Wednesday afternoon, the

Federal Reserve

will release the minutes from its Dec. 11 meeting. At that gathering, the Federal Open Market Committee lowered rates 25 basis points, which was a disappointment to traders looking for a bigger cut.

The minutes, to be released at 2 p.m. EST, could provide insight into the rationale behind the Fed's move, as well as clues about its outlook heading into the next meeting at the end of January.

And while the calendar may have turned, the mess in the credit markets won't be left behind in 2007. On

, Laurie Kulikowski will look at how regional banks such as

Fifth Third





are poised to report particularly painful fourth-quarter results as a result of the credit turmoil.

Meanwhile, Scott Moritz will explain why



efforts to bring the open standard movement to the Federal Communications Commission's big wireless frequency auction are likely to fall flat.

This article was written by a staff member of