Interest rates and a potential government shutdown headline the week ahead

The Federal Reserve will hold its final policy meeting of 2018 this week. The meeting begins Tuesday and ends with an interest rate decision on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a press conference with Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

This week is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week, when nearly 3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards, will be processed and delivered.

Monday afternoon, earnings results will be released by Oracle and Red Hat.

Investors will also examine the latest data on manufacturing in the New York area with the Empire Manufacturing report.

On Tuesday, in addition to the start of the Fed meeting, traders will examine the first of this week’s reports on housing with the latest data on housing starts and building permits.

Earnings will start to play into the day to day of the stock market.  Darden Restaurants will report in the morning, while FedEx, Jabil Circuit and Micron deliver in the afternoon.

A day later, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference to  discuss the latest interest rate decision.

Existing home sales data will be released along with earnings from General Mills,  Pier 1 Imports and Rite Aid.

The Bank of England will release its latest interest rate decision on Thursday.

Earnings are scheduled from BlackBerry, Conagra and Nike.

On the economic calendar, investors will get the weekly jobless claims report along with the latest on manufacturing in the Mid-Atlantic region.

On Friday investors will get plenty of data including the final reading on third-quarter GDP, durable goods and personal income and spending.

And the week ends with the possibility of a Government shutdown if Congressional leaders and President Trump can’t decide on a funding bill.