Wednesday, December 13, 2017
What to watch today
Perhaps the final major market catalyst of the year is set to come to markets on Wednesday. At 2:00 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will announce its final monetary policy decision of the year, and markets expect the central bank to raise interest rates for the third time this year. The Fed should push the target range for its benchmark interest up higher by 0.25%, to a new corridor of 1.25%-1.50%, pegging the Effective Fed Funds rate at 1.37% which would be the highest since October 2008.
Wednesday will also be Janet Yellen’s final post-meeting press conference as Fed chair, as current Fed governor Jay Powell is set to take over from Yellen in February.
Moore’s defeat in Alabama deals Trump a rebuke ahead of 2018: The defeat of Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race by Democrat Doug Jones was a stunning rebuke to the GOP’s anti-establishment wing led by Steve Bannon and a major political embarrassment for President Donald Trump. [Bloomberg]
Saudi Aramco to seek pitches for IPO coordinators: Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is asking banks to pitch for roles as coordinators and bookrunners on its initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said, as the state-owned crude producer pushes ahead with plans for the world’s biggest share sale. [Bloomberg]
Google launching AI research center in China: Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL) Google said on Wednesday it is opening an artificial intelligence (AI) research center in China to target the country’s local talent, even as the U.S. search firm’s products remain blocked in the country. Google said in a statement the research center is the first of its kind in Asia and will comprise a small team operating out of its existing office in Beijing. [Reuters]
Behind bitcoin boom, Japanese retail investors pile in: Japan’s army of retail investors, no strangers to high risk bets in the past, have emerged as a major force in bitcoin’s spectacular rally, now accounting for an estimated 30%-50% of trading in the cryptocurrency as it spikes to record highs. Once skeptics, Japanese retail investors have been attracted by the digital currency’s volatility and inefficiencies in pricing that create opportunities to make money on arbitrage between exchanges. [Reuters]
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