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Morning Brief: The Disney-Fox deal is official

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What to watch today

We’ve got an entertainment mega-deal. Walt Disney Co (DIS) is buying film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOX) in a $52.4 billion deal. Bob Iger will remain chairman and CEO of Disney through 2021.

One of the year’s final market catalysts has come and gone. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.25%, the central bank’s third rate hike of the year and the fifth since the financial crisis. The Fed’s benchmark interest rate target is now pegged in a range of 1.25%-1.50%, the highest since October 2008.

On Thursday, investors will move past the Fed with the November report on retail sales, one of the month’s biggest economic data points, set for release in the morning.

And on the earnings side, results are due out from Oracle (ORCL), Adobe (ADBE), and Costco (COST). Costco’s results will be closely watched for signs of any consumer strength or weakness during the holiday shopping season.

Investors will also be tracking progress of tax reform on Capitol Hill after some lawmakers on Wednesdayincluding President Donald Trump — suggested House and Senate Republicans were close to reaching a deal on a bill to be put to a vote in both houses.

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Top news

Yellen: Bitcoin is a highly speculative asset: During a press conference following the Fed’s latest monetary policy decision, Yellen was asked about recent gains in the stock market and bitcoin and whether the central bank has factored in these rises in its assessment of the economy. “I would simply say that bitcoin at this time plays a very small role in the payments system,” Yellen said. “[Bitcoin] is not a stable store of value, it doesn’t constitute legal tender, and it is a highly speculative asset.” [Yahoo Finance Original]

Dimon says tax-cut fueled stock buybacks are not a ‘bad thing‘:  JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon is a big proponent of corporate tax reform. “You need a competitive tax system … companies will retain more capital and start to use it over time,” Dimon said Wednesday in response to a moderator question at the Axios Smarter Faster Revolution event in Ann Arbor, Michigan. [CNBC]

As ‘net neutrality’ vote nears, some brace for a long fight: As the federal government prepares to unravel sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet, advocates of the regulations are bracing for a long fight. The Thursday vote scheduled at the Federal Communications Commission could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet, a radical departure from more than a decade of federal oversight. [AP]

The night sky over the Galenki RT-70 radio telescope at a Kvant-D command and measurement complex which is part of the Titov Main Space Test Centre, during the Geminids meteor shower. (Photo by Yuri Smityuk\TASS via Getty Images)

Yahoo Finance Originals

The rich win big in the final GOP tax-cut bill

The Trump tax cuts will help Republicans more than Democrats

Bitcoin buyers must practice ‘cold storage’ for security

RBC: The cryptocurrency market could one day be worth $10 trillion

Microsoft unveils new Bing search features Google doesn’t have


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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.