MARKET: TOO MUCH INFO?

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is all but certain to boost short-term interest rates to 3 percent, its eighth hike in a year. But for some market-watchers, the deeper insight into the Fed's thinking won't come from the brief rate announcement, but three weeks later when the Fed releases the minutes of its deliberations.

Until January, the Fed kept these notes under wraps for six weeks, until after its next meeting. But this year it's released them more quickly--its latest move toward "transparency," a key element in the legacy of chairman Alan Greenspan, who'll retire next January. But is this too much of a good thing? The Dow's reacted sharply to the minutes' release in recent months as investors have struggled to interpret the Fed's musings. "[The Fed's] gotten into the business of giving some sense of where their next move [will] be, and there's some question over whether that's useful or not," says Allan H. Meltzer, a Fed historian. With inflation rising and economic growth slowing, the Fed faces a tricky balancing act, but most observers believe Greenspan is determined to cement his reputation as an inflation fighter by aggressively stamping out rising prices. Even as his term winds down, that means this week's rate hike probably won't be his last.