March 13, 2012 at 7:38 AM ET
The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is meeting in Washington Tuesday and everyone is expecting, well, not much of a change.
With the recovery plodding along and inflation only a minor worry (those gas prices!) the Fed is unlikely to change course on interest rates. It's outlook for the economy will remain somewhat upbeat, with caveats, of course, so stocks are trending higher ahead of the opening bell.
Aside from the Fed, which will announce its decision in midafternoon, investors will be watching retail sales data from February. Reuters says a survey of economists expects a 1.0 percent rise versus a 0.4 percent gain in January. Back out auto sales, and the number will likely be a 0.7 percent rise, same as January.