WASHINGTON - A glass-walled room atop the Federal Reserve complex will offer one of the best views in Washington when fireworks burst in the sky at midnight on Dec. 31. Inside, though, 100 Fed employees will fix their eyes on computer screens, watching for any sign of pyrotechnics in the U.S. financial system.

Fed officials insist that tests show there will be no special problem in the banking system once the calendar turns to 2000, when older computers that symbolize years with just two digits are vulnerable to crashes. Nevertheless, the Fed Tuesday cited "market uncertainties associated with the century date change" as the major reason it didn't raise U.S. interest rates that day for a fourth time since June.

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