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The Thursday Express: North American financials

* Top Federal Reserve officials announced that the target range of the U.S. central bank's key interest rate has been raised by 25 basis points.

* According to Moody's, the rate hike will "provide an immediate and modest boost to net interest income" for banks and "help reverse the downward march in investment portfolio yields" for life insurers.

* Meanwhile, Pine Bluff, Ark.-based Simmons First National is acquiring all the outstanding common stock of Stillwater, Okla.-based Southwest Bancorp for roughly $564.4 million.

* In Dallas, Veritex Holdings agreed to buy Sovereign Bancshares and its unit, Sovereign Bank.

* EVERTEC Group closed its $10 million purchase of certain assets of Accuprint Inc., a data processing and printing firm.

* Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has acquired The MW Bagnall Co. of Phoenix.

* Citing internal Treasury documents, Reuters reports the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has approved the takeover of the Chicago Stock Exchange by a group of investors led by a Chinese company.

* Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wrote a letter to Prudential Financial CEO John Strangfeld demanding further investigation into the insurance policies the company sold through its joint venture with Wells Fargo.

* BOK Financial expects a roughly $17.4 million decrease in its fourth-quarter pretax net income due to a change in the fair value of its mortgage servicing rights.

* John Woods is joining Citizens Financial Group as CFO after leaving MUFG Americas Holdings, where he held the same title. Johannes Worsoe succeeded him at MUFG.

* Tom Rogers joined Farmers Group as chief investment officer, effective Dec. 1.

* And Centene Corp. extended Chairman, President and CEO Michael Neidorff's employment agreement to 2020.

The Daily Dose: Express Edition is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.