Morning Brief: Fed Chair Powell hints at 4 interest rate hikes this year

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What to watch today

On the final trading day of a month that, barring a big rally on Wednesday, will almost certainly see the major averages finish in the red, investors will contend with a fairly busy economics and earnings schedule after a Fed-heavy Tuesday in markets. Through Tuesday’s close, the S&P 500 was down 2.6% for the month, the Dow was down just under 3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was off about 0.8% for the month.

The biggest economics news out Wednesday will be the second estimate of fourth quarter GDP, which Wall Street economists tracked by Bloomberg expect will show the U.S. economy grew at an annualized pace of 2.5% in the final three months of 2017, down 0.1% from the initial estimate published in late January. Elsewhere in economic data we’ll get readings on pending home sales and manufacturing activity in the midwest from the Chicago PMI report.

And on the earnings side, home improvement retailer Lowe’s (LOW), TJ Maxx parent company TJX Companies (TJX), Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands (LB), Monster Beverage (MNST), and (CRM) are expected to be the highlights on Wednesday.

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Top news

Powell hints that the Fed will raise interest rates 4 times in 2018: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell moved markets on Tuesday in his first appearance before lawmakers on Capitol Hill since his confirmation. In response to questions from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Powell hinted that more aggressive action on raising interest rates from the Fed could be warranted this year. [Yahoo Finance]

Amazon buys startup Ring in $1 billion deal to run your home security: Inc. (AMZN) has agreed to buy video doorbell maker Ring, the companies said on Tuesday, in what analysts see as a growing bet on delivering packages inside of shoppers’ homes and on home security. The deal valued Ring at more than $1 billion, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Ring is set to be one of Amazon’s most expensive takeovers, after its $13.7 billion deal last year for Whole Foods Market. [Reuters]

Papa John’s will no longer be an official sponsor of the NFL:  Papa John’s (PZZA) is ending its recently stormy role as an official sponsor of the NFL. Officials at the pizza chain said Tuesday that the two sides agreed to end the relationship, which became strained last year when its founder John Schnatter criticized NFL leadership over national anthem protests by players. [AP]

Oilman T. Boone Pickens is becoming an ETF: T. Boone Pickens was many things during his decades-long career: wildcatter, corporate raider, cattle trader, investor. Now, he’s becoming an exchange-traded fund. The 89-year-old oilman recently hung it up at his hedge fund, but his investing philosophy — basically going all in on the U.S. energy renaissance — has been packaged for the passive-investing era. The Pickens Oil Response ETF is scheduled to begin trading Wednesday. Its ticker symbol will be BOON and it is tailored as a wager on U.S. energy abundance. [The Wall Street Journal]

F or more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

Dylan Penn and Winnie Harlow attend the Christian Dior show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2018/2019 on Feb. 27, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff/GettyImages)

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The Morning Brief provides a quick rundown on what to watch in the markets, top news stories, and the best of Yahoo Finance Originals.