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Data: CME Group; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

If Powell cuts U.S. overnight interest rates today, not only will he be fighting hawkish members of his rate-setting committee, but the supposedly data-dependent Fed will be fighting the data as well.

What's happening: Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are rising and economic readings from China and the eurozone have continued to deteriorate since the Fed's last meeting — but U.S. data has been strong and even potentially inflationary.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rebounded in September after hitting a 3-year low in August.
  • U.S. retail sales rose 0.4% in August, doubling estimates from economists, after a strong 0.8% rise in July.
  • The core consumer price index, a measure of inflation excluding volatile food and energy items, rose 2.4% year over year, the biggest jump in more than a decade, according to St. Louis Fed data.
  • August's U.S. jobs report missed expectations for employment gains, but average hourly earnings increased by 0.4% for the month and 3.2% from a year earlier, both near their highest marks in a decade.

Now what? While most analysts and money managers say they still expect a rate cut, Fed fund futures prices show the market is growing less certain.

  • Traders went from seeing a 0% chance the Fed will hold rates steady at today's meeting a month ago to a near 50-50 shot on Tuesday.

Go deeper

Uber to buy Postmates in $2.65 billion deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber has agreed to acquire food delivery company Postmates for $2.65 million in an all-stock deal, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: This is the latest merger for the food delivery space as the sector undergoes an ongoing market consolidation.

Analysts expect soaring stock market despite slashed earnings forecasts

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Despite cutting expectations for companies' earnings by the most in history and revenue by the most since 2009, Wall Street analysts are getting increasingly bullish on the overall direction of the U.S. stock market.

What's happening: Equity analysts are expecting earnings in the second quarter to fall by 43.8% — the most since 2008's fourth quarter 69.1% decline.

Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.