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What to expect from today's Fed meeting

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies during a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee February 7, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Jeremy Hobson: The top policy makers at the Federal Reserve are holding a meeting today -- as they often do -- to decide what to do next. They're not expected to raise interest rates, or start any new bond buying programs to boost lending and spending.

The question today is: is job growth now strong enough for the Fed to start withdrawing some of its economic stimulus?

We asked Roberto Perli of International Strategies and Investment Group.

Roberto Perli: From the point of view of Fed policy, the more important thing is: what will employment look like going forward? Rather than what it looks like looking backward.

And going forward, he says, the Fed has a lot of economic headwinds to consider.

Perli: Ranging from housing that's still weak; gas prices that are going up. They're worried about disposable income that's not growing at all in real terms, and so they're worried about the prospects for consumer spending. And they're worried about.

Oh yeah -- Europe.

Actually the last time things started looking really good in the job market and economists started talking asking if it was time for the Fed to pull back some of its economic stimulus was about a year ago -- and it was in large part Europe's debt crisis that ended that discussion.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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