With the Federal Reserve echoing the prevailing hawkishness of financial markets, the stage is officially set for a December rate hike as Central Bank officials increasingly shift their stance. According to the meeting minutes from November, most policymakers saw the risks as roughly balanced. Despite expectations that the balance sheet will remain larger than normal for an extended period of time, the Federal Reserve is showing increasing concern about its own credibility. As a result, unless there is a major economic shock before the December decision, the next rate increase is likely to go off without a hitch. Furthermore, futures are showing that the likelihood of further action in 2017 has risen sharply. Meanwhile, major US stock indices closed at fresh highs except for the Nasdaq Composite which was weighed down by technology earnings.