A day ahead of the Fed's decision on whether to raise interest rates, bets were all over the place among market watchers. Bobbi Rebell reports.
It's too close to call, and it depends who you ask, when it comes to whether the Federal Reserve will finally begin to raise rates when its meeting ends on Thursday. Global banks and investment funds see the chances for a rate increase as essentially a toss up, although most experts see a slightly higher probability for standing pat. In a Reuters poll of 80 economists, 45 said the Fed would keep its benchmark interest rate between 0 and 0.25 percent. Thirty-five expect a hike, and PNC Financial Services Group Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman agrees: SOUNDBITE: STUART HOFFMAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If rates we were already up, you wouldn't have to go now. But when you are sitting at zero, basically at emergency level, it just seems to me now is the time to get started, and in what I think will be a very very slow and prolonged upward movement in interest rates, but I think it will start tomorrow rather than later this year or next year. " Bets in financial markets suggest investors see the chances of a hike at just one in five. Convergex's Nicholas Colas: SOUNDBITE: NICHOLAS COLAS, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, CONVERGEX (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I don't think they are going to go tomorrow. I do think they are going to go in December, but I don't think anybody really feels they have a lot of confidence in whatever call they are making." The decision will be announced at 2 p.m. eastern time.