Morning Brief: Fed expected to raise rates today

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What to watch today

Wednesday is all about the Federal Reserve. At 2:00 p.m. ET, the U.S. central bank will release its latest monetary policy decision. Markets expect the Fed to raise the target range for its benchmark Federal Funds rate by 0.25% to 1.5%-1.75%. This would be the highest benchmark rate since the financial crisis and be the highest Fed Funds rate since September 2008.

Elsewhere on the economic calendar, investors will get data on existing home sales and mortgage applications out in the morning.

On the earnings side, notable results expected out Wednesday should include General Mills (GIS), Guess (GES), Five Below (FIVE), and Herman Miller (MLHR).

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Top news

Facebook agreed to brief House panel on misuse of data: Facebook Inc. (FB) officials have tentatively agreed to brief House Judiciary Committee members as soon as Wednesday on the use of personal data of millions of their users by a firm hired as a consultant to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a congressional official familiar with the discussions. Details are still being worked out about how and when such a briefing would take place, as well as who would appear from the company, according to the official, who asked for anonymity because the discussions aren’t public. [Bloomberg]

Amazon passes Alphabet as second-largest U.S. company: Recent weakness in large technology stocks is reordering the list of the biggest U.S. firms. During a selloff that has dragged down the broader market this week, Inc.’s (AMZN) market value passed that of Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) Amazon closed as the second biggest U.S. company on Tuesday, topping Alphabet for the first time ever. [The Wall Street Journal]

Congress stymied on $1.3 trillion bill: Congressional Republicans missed another target to unveil a $1.3 trillion spending bill, as talks continued early Wednesday with just days remaining for House and Senate votes to avert a third government shutdown this year. Lawmakers had hoped to announce a bill by the end of the day Tuesday, but disagreements persisted over immigration, border security, tax breaks and a rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. [Bloomberg]

Spotify CEO eligible to sell up to $2B stake in public listing: Daniel Ek, the CEO and co-founder of streaming music leader Spotify Technology SA, is eligible to sell up to 15.8 million shares of the company worth up to $2 billion in its direct listing, the company disclosed in a filing on Tuesday. In an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Spotify said it expected current shareholders to sell up to 55.7 million ordinary shares when the stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on April 3. Instead of a traditional IPO, Spotify plans a direct listing. [Reuters]

For more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

Large ice floes floating on the Songhua River on March 20, 2018 in Harbin, China. Amazing scenery as an Antarctic glacier, attracts many residents and tourists. (Photo by Tao Zhang/Getty Images)

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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.