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Morning Brief: Senate approves Powell as Fed chair

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What to watch today

Tuesday was a huge day for tech stocks. After earnings beat expectations on Monday after the close, Netflix (NFLX) shares gained 9% on Tuesday pushing the company’s market cap to north of $100 billion and dragging higher the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which paced gains among the major market indexes. The Dow actually lost ground Tuesday, falling 3 points, while the S&P 500 rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq hit 0.7% as each of these indexes hit records.

On Wednesday, the busy week for corporate earnings will continue, with results from GE (GE), Comcast (CMCSA), United Technologies (UTX), Norfolk Southern (NSC), and Ford (F).

The economic calendar will be a bit more busy, with the preliminary reports on manufacturing and service-sector activity in January from Markit Economics set for release, while the December reading on existing home sales should be the economic highlight.

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Top news

Powell taking over as Fed chairman at time of economic calm: Jerome Powell has won Senate confirmation to head the U.S. central bank, inheriting an economy on a roll, a booming stock market and unemployment at a 17-year low. He will succeed Janet Yellen, the first woman to serve as Fed chairman, when her term ends on Feb. 3. The position is considered the government’s most power economic job. [AP]

Clash between founder and protégé plunges Och-Ziff into crisis: Once they were mentor and protégé. Now Daniel Och and James Levin are trapped in a battle for the future of one of New York’s biggest investment firms. Levin is in line to succed Och but over Christmas weekend, Och-Ziff rushed out a letter to investors revealing that the 57-year-old Och had changed his mind, overruling others in the process. [The Wall Street Journal]

Mnuchin says weaker dollar is good for U.S. due to trade: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dollar’s decline provides a boost to the U.S. economy through trade, breaking with the usual practice of the U.S. government advocating for a strong greenback. [Bloomberg]

Trump’s border wall may fade as obstacle in immigration debate: The entrenched sides in the immigration debate consuming Washington are edging toward consensus on one thing: President Donald Trump’s border wall may not be all that big of an obstacle. Activists pressuring Democrats to hold firm on their immigration priorities say that as long as it’s not a concrete wall spanning the entire U.S.-Mexico border, which no one sees as feasible, it’s not a deal-breaker. [Bloomberg]

Yahoo Finance on the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos:

For more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance is holding a live summit on cryptocurrencies, featuring a range of big-name guest speakers, on Feb. 7 in New York City. Get your ticket here.

A protester holds up a banner during a protest against the attendance of President Donald Trump to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jan. 23-26, 2018, in central Zurich. (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/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.