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Morning Brief: Fed Chair Jerome Powell debuts today

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What to watch today

On Tuesday, the schedule will be busy with durable goods orders, readings on home prices from S&P/Case-Shiller as well as the Federal House Finance Authority, and The Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for February all expected for release in the morning.

The Conference Board’s data will be closely tracked for any signs that the stock market sell-off dented confidence in the U.S. economy among consumers; data from the University of Michigan earlier this month indicated that the benefits of tax cuts are outweighing any concerns about volatility in financial markets.

Tuesday will also be a big day for Fed watchers as new Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will be on Capitol Hill delivering his first semiannual testimony before lawmakers at 10 a.m. ET. And then at 2:00 p.m. ET, former Fed chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen will be in discussion at the Brookings Institution, Yellen’s first public appearance since leaving her post at the top of the central bank earlier this month.

And on the earnings calendar, companies expected to report results include Macy’s (M), Discovery Communications (DISCA), Toll Brothers (TOL), Booking Holdings (PCLN), AutoZone (AZO), and Square (SQ).

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Top news

Comcast challenges Murdoch with $31 billion offer to buy Sky:  Comcast Corp (CMCSA), the biggest cable operator in the United States, offered on Tuesday to pay $31 billion to buy Sky, challenging Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Bob Iger’s Walt Disney (DIS) for the European pay-TV jewel. Comcast, a $184 billion media giant which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was offering 12.50 pounds per share, significantly higher than the 10.75 pounds per share agreed by Fox. Shares in Sky soared 18%. [Reuters]

FedEx won’t drop NRA from discount program: FedEx Corp. (FDX) said on Monday it would allow the National Rifle Association to continue using a discount program but said it opposed sales of assault rifles. The package delivery company’s statement comes as major corporations are under pressure to sever marketing and other ties with the NRA in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida high school. (Reuters)

Fidelity may abandon its star stock-picker system: Fidelity Investments is considering abandoning the investment process that made its managers famous, according to people familiar with the situation. The changes under consideration at privately held Fidelity are the result of an outside consultant’s review since late last year of behavior within the stock-picking unit, and follow reports by The Wall Street Journal of claims of sexual harassment and other misconduct there. If enacted, the changes would mark a major overhaul of Fidelity’s lucrative stock-picking business, which executives have been loath to disrupt. [The Wall Street Journal]

U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear immigration appeal: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Trump administration appeal aimed at ending deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, steering clear for now of the debate over the fate of hundreds of thousands of people. The justices, without published dissent, turned away the administration’s appeal of a ruling that has kept the Obama-era program in place. The rejection buys time for the so-called dreamers even as Congress has been unable to agree on legislation to give them permanent protection. [Reuters]

Sam’s Club partners with Instacart to deliver groceries: Warehouse chain Sam’s Club, a unit of Walmart Inc. (WMT), said  it will offer home delivery through Instacart, becoming the latest retailer to partner with the startup since Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) strengthened its push into food sales last year. [Reuters]

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

Flowers are placed on the names inscribed on the north reflecting pool of the National September 11 Memorial for those killed in the Feb. 26, 1993 truck bomb attack at the World Trade Center in New York City on the 25th anniversary of the bombing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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