The Fed once again failed to send an unequivocally clear signal that it intends to raise rates in December. Still, the key sentence is here: "The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has continued to strengthen but decided, for the time being, to wait for some further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives."
That one word — "some," which was not in the prior statement — at least indicates that the threshold for a rate hike is getting lower and lower.
If the Fed needs evidence the economy is strengthening, it seems to be there. GDP growth is improving, jobs are plentiful. Inflation is picking up. Heck, there's even modest wage growth.
And the market sure is acting like there is going to be a rate hike.
Stocks have already adjusted. The S&P 500 is 80 points (about 4 percent) off its historic high. The small-cap Russell 2000, which is more sensitive to interest rate hikes, is 10 percent off its historic high.