From Reuters.com

The Day Ahead: Wednesday

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It’s D-day at the Fed, as Chairman Ben Benrnake (pictured) and the Federal Open Market Committee unveil their latest policy decision. Virtually no-one is expecting a rate move, but, rather, the focus will be on language and how the Fed weighs recent upbeat economic data against fears that a burgeoning recovery is on shaky ground.

Also in the driver’s seat is Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is expected to spell out plans for reviving the flat-lining automaker.

Other highlights:

* Cisco Systems leads the earnings parade with quarterly numbers that may reflect a recovery in tech spending. Comcast, Qualcomm and News Corp are also on the docket.

* Data highlights include the ISM’s non-manufacturing numbers and readings on the employment picture from Challenger and ADP.

It’s not a train set when it’s valued at $34 billion

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Warren Buffett calls his bet on railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe “an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States.”

The deal, Buffett’s biggest-ever acquisition, is priced at a premium of 31.5 percent over BNSF’s closing stock price on Monday and values the railroad at $34 billion.

The day ahead: Tuesday

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The Federal Reserve is widely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate where it has been since December — near zero — when it concludes a policy meeting this week.

*  Results from Kraft will go a long way to answering the big question investors have regarding its offer to buy British chocolatier Cadbury: will it raise its bid, and if so, by how much?

The day ahead: Friday

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A report on personal income in September is expected to show households remain under pressure and the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for October is seen falling.

*  Chevron’s results will get a boost from rising oil prices, but weak refining margins and sluggish demand for natural gas are likely to weigh.

Graphic: Insider trading timeline

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It started out with two law school friends turning a modest profit on confidential merger news. But after 14 years of cashing in on blockbuster deals, the scheme came crashing down in a case that unfolds like a paperback detective novel.  Read the whole story here.

The day ahead: Thursday

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Gross domestic product data for the third quarter should show that the U.S. economy resumed growing after a year of decline as consumers spent more and investment in home-building bounced back.

*  Shorter term indicators could also provide a lift for markets looking for signs of growth. Weekly jobless claims are expected to have edged down by 10,000 to 521,000 in the latest week.

Chipping away at the Berlin Wall

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By Neil Brennan

I was an exchange student studying in Strasbourg when the news first broke. My immediate reaction was the same as everyone else – incredulous. How could it be? As a student of Soviet Political Systems, I knew things were moving quickly – but in our minds, the Wall represented all that divided East from West. It was impenetrable – wasn’t it?

When a fellow student from Saudi Arabia first told me on a street corner that travel between East and West Berlin was now permissible, we both had a hard time believing it. But then the images started to come out of Berlin, and I had to go and see for myself.

Graphic: Medical tourism by country

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With U.S. healthcare prices spiraling upward, more and more insurers and individuals are looking abroad for treatment. By some estimates, 650,000 Americans will check into foreign hospitals from Mexico to Thailand this year.

The day ahead: Wednesday

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Oil price gains may be starting to help ConocoPhillips’ bottom line, but its fleet of refineries is likely to show the strain when the company reports quarterly earnings.

*  Economic optimists should have a few reasons to cheer from durable goods and housing sales figures — neither of which is expected to be worse than the previous month.

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