This article is from CNBC.

The Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates at its meeting this week, though it did give a nod to growing optimism among the business community and consumers.

As widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee — the central bank’s policy making arm — kept its benchmark overnight lending rate target at a range of 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent. In December, the Fed raised the target a quarter point, or 25 basis points, marking just the second hike in more than 10 years.

There was little in the post-meeting communique to indicate when the Fed might resume the rate normalization process.

However, officials did take note of a change in mood.

“Measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late,” the committee said Wednesday. The language was new, and in the arcane process of discerning where the thinking resides among central bankers, it was significant.

Wall Street indeed has shown more optimism in the days since Donald Trump scored an upset in the November presidential election. Stocks have rallied, and measures of business, investor and consumer sentiment have been strong.

“There’s been this dichotomy that’s occurred since the election between measures of sentiment and real activity. There’s been this real animal spirits story,” said Mark Doms, senior economist and managing director at Nomura. “One of the things the Fed is going to be looking for, as well as the market, is whether these animal spirits are going to materialize in a meaningful way.”

Trump has pledged a program of lower taxes, reduced regulations and higher government spending on infrastructure to goose a slow-growing economy.

For years, the Fed has encouraged more fiscal stimulus to complement its historically aggressive monetary policy.

Jeff Cox|

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