Updated from Aug. 12Market expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate cut remained low in the hour before the decision was due. Wall Street was quiet despite a new government report that showed the economy lurching forward and an economic pep talk from President Bush. Stocks were all but unchanged an hour before the rate decision was to be announced as Wall Street waited for the Federal Open Market Committee to weigh in not so much on rates themselves, but on its opinion of the nation's economic prospects. Fed fund futures, considered a good proxy of monetary policy, were pricing in only a 25% chance of an easing this morning. The futures had been placing 50% odds on a rate cut at the end of last week. Most private sector economists now think it is unlikely that the Fed will lower interest rates. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 1.2% in July, in line with expectations after an upwardly revised 1.4% increase in August. Most of the gain was the result of cars being sold via interest-free loans and economist said the report did little to change existing perceptions of a struggling recovery.