Hold tight, wait till the party's over. Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather. There has got to be a way: Burning down the house -- Talking HeadsThese have got to be strange times when the stock market cheers news that new-home sales plunged 10.5% in February, which is what happened Friday. Even permabulls can't deny the slowing of the housing market, this major engine of the economy for the past few years. Yet Wall Street's reaction to the news tells the story of the past two weeks. The name of the game has been to take economic data as either supporting or contradicting hopes that the Federal Reserve will soon stop raising interest rates. The obsession reached a fever pitch ahead of the Fed's rate-setting meeting next week. Some in the market even hope the central bank will deliver the final rate hike of its 20-month long tightening campaign. Adding to market jitters, the meeting will be the first to be presided by new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who took over from Alan Greenspan in February. In that context, evidence of weakness in housing was seen as a gift, especially after Friday's other key economic report -- durable goods orders for February -- also came in weaker than expected. Following the reports, the market began pricing in fewer chances that the Fed will hike for much longer, after an expected quarter-point move to 4.75% next week. Odds of such a hike stood at 100%, while odds of a move to 5% in May fell to 79% on Friday from 94% the previous day. The market still sees a 92% chance that the Fed funds rate will stand at 5% at the June meeting, which implies a pause in May. Odds of a 5.25% funds rate in June dropped to 0% from 6%. Yet, caution still dominated trading on Friday ahead of the Fed's two-day meeting, which starts Monday.