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It’s Not About the Data—It’s Really About the Fed

Inflation, unemployment and consumer demand are all important, but how the central bank interprets the numbers is the real key.

The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington DC.

The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington DC.

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

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Inflation. Unemployment. Consumer demand. All important economic data—but more important is how the Federal Reserve interprets it all and reacts. The central bank wields an especially powerful influence over markets, so understanding how its members think, what they are doing and why is important for any engaged investor.