As expected, the U.S. Federal Reserve held its policy steady on Wednesday. Its benchmark fed funds range remained unchanged at 5.25%-5.50 percent. However, this may have dampened market expectations of a rate reduction at its next March meeting.

In its announcement , the central bank stated that it would not be appropriate to lower the target range before it is more confident that the inflation rate will continue to move towards 2 percent.

Market watchers expected the Fed to stay on hold today. However, the outlook for the rest of the year is very different. According to the CME FedWatch Tool, prior to today’s announcement, investors had priced nearly a 60% chance that the Fed would cut rates by at least 25 basis points at its next meeting, scheduled for March. Investors also expect a series rate cuts from the Fed throughout 2024. After the announcement of policy, odds on a March rate cut were lowered to just above 50%.

BTC Price Index and Live Chart – CoinDesk”>(BTC) was little-changed in the minutes following today’s Fed announcement, continuing at about $43,500. The price of bitcoin has fluctuated in recent weeks, but it is essentially flat. The time period has been dominated primarily by the weeks leading up to the approval of spot ETFs, and then the first few weeks of trading. Bulls hope that the combination of a series of rate reductions, demand from new ETFs, and the April halving (at 50% less daily bitcoins), will spark a new run to new heights.

The S&P 500 is down about 1%, and the Nasdaq is down 1.5%.

This week, five Democratic Senators threw in their hats to the monetary policy game. First, Elizabeth Warren (D) led a team of four in urging Fed Chairman Jerome Powell cut “astronomical” rates. Then, yesterday, Sen. Sherrod (D-Ohio), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee requested a similar action.

Powell’s press conference following the meeting, where he will likely be asked about these Senatorial concerns begins at 2:30pm ET.