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Fed stands pat, commodities slip, and another healthcare showdown looms. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Fed Holds

The Federal Reserve shrugged off first-quarter weakness in the U.S., keeping rates unchanged at a range of 75 to 100 basis points on Wednesday. Monetary policy makers deemed the slowdown “transitory” and said inflation was close to its target. Meanwhile, former Fed chief Ben Bernanke called the case for tax cuts and more spending “a little weaker” than it would have been four years ago, adding that the Trump administration ought to focus on supply-side reforms rather than policies that boost demand.

Commodities Slip

The Bloomberg Commodity Index sank to its lowest levels since Nov. 18 on Wednesday with industrial metals leading the way down. Copper fell as much as 3.6 percent after stockpiles jumped, while a smaller than anticipated crude inventory draw stateside pressured West Texas Intermediate futures. A lack of follow-through on President Donald Trump’s promises to expediently spur infrastructure spending is seen as weighing on the commodity complex. Not all raw materials are struggling, however: A select few linked to the eclectic dietary preferences of American ‘hipsters’ have enjoyed robust annual gains.

Repeal and Replace Redux

Republican leaders appear to be on the verge of securing enough votes to pass a health care bill after two House Republicans flipped from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ amid efforts to address concerns over coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. A vote could come as early as Thursday. Meanwhile, the House did manage to pass a spending bill on Wednesday that would avoid a government shutdown, though it doesn’t include funding for one of Trump’s top priorities: a border wall with Mexico. Nonetheless, the White House said he will sign the bill if it makes its way through the Senate in its current form.

Stocks Dip

Benchmark U.S. equity indexes fell on Wednesday amid the softness in commodities, retreat in interest-rate sensitive stocks, and reaction to disappointing quarterly results from Apple Inc. The Fed’s continued confidence in the U.S. expansion buoyed the greenback, putting it atop the G10 currency leaderboard on the session.

Futures Down

S&P/ASX 200 are in the red ahead of the open as weakness in materials threatens to weigh on the index. Over in China, regulators are trying to signal to investors that their regulatory crackdown shouldn’t cause investors to flee stocks. Trading in Tokyo remains closed for holidays.

What we’ve been reading 

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