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This is the real reason the Fed might hike rates

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How the Fed rate hike affects the stock market

Federal Reserve watchers will be parsing every piece of economic data between now and mid-December to figure out whether the central bank will raise interest rates before year's end.

What may well be the most important factor, though, is tilting in favor of a hike.

Fed fund futures, in which traders place their bets on where rates will be after each Federal Open Market Committee meeting, now indicate the probability of a December move at 58 percent. That's a jump of 4 percentage points on a daily basis and a huge surge from a month ago, when traders anticipated just a 2 percent chance of a hike amid market turmoil and indications of deflation in the U.S. and global economies.

Of course, day-to-day trading on anything is volatile, and that's no less true when the market is trying to read tea leaves for a group that has been as fickle as this Fed board.

But the shift is significant in that the Fed increasingly has changed its focus from being "data dependent," as it claims in public statements, to market dependent, which provides a clearer explanation for the Fed's rate indecision through 2015.