As widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee raised the target range of the U.S. central bank's key interest rate by another 25 basis points. The U.S. central bank also released updated dot plot economic projections that show FOMC members leaning toward three more rate hikes in 2017. 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.
Janet Yellen noted markets anticipated the move, and that it "should have a very small effect on market rates." And though there seems to be no love lost between the Fed chair and President-elect Donald Trump, Yellen has said she intends to finish her term.
In banking's M&A scene, Pine Bluff, Ark.-based Simmons First National Corp. is acquiring all the outstanding common stock of Stillwater, Okla.-based Southwest Bancorp Inc. in a deal valued at roughly $564.4 million.
In Dallas, Veritex Holdings Inc. will issue 5,117,647 common shares and pay around $58.0 million in cash to acquire Sovereign Bancshares Inc. and unit Sovereign Bank.
Meanwhile, Tulsa, Okla.-based BOK Financial Corp. expects a decrease of around $17.4 million in its fourth-quarter pretax net income due to a change in the fair value of its mortgage servicing rights.
John Woods left his CFO post at New York-based MUFG Americas Holdings Corp. and is set to join Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group Inc. in the same role in February 2017.
And Joshua Samuel Aaron, who voluntarily returned from Moscow to face charges connected with a 2014 data breach, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit computer hacking and securities and wire fraud, among other charges, according to The Associated Press. Aaron is said to be involved in the hacking of U.S. financial news publishers, brokerage firms and other financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase & Co.
On the exchange front, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. approved the Chicago Stock Exchange Inc.'s takeover by a group of investors led by a Chinese company, Reuters reports, citing internal Treasury documents.
Fintech firm EVERTEC Group LLC closed its $10 million purchase of certain assets of Accuprint, a data processing and printing company that provides services to banks and insurance firms, as well as nonfinancial companies.
Lastly, a task force commissioned by the G20 — which lists JPMorgan and former SEC Chair Mary Schapiro among its advisers — urged companies to disclose climate change-related risks to their businesses.
In other parts of the world
Asia-Pacific: China Minsheng Banking shareholder boosts stake; India's LIC gets new chairman
Europe: Banks' MREL funding need estimates cut; more calls for transitional Brexit deal
Middle East & Africa: Central banks respond to Fed hike; Gabon restructures 3 banks
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market. In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 1.77% to 22,059.40, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.10% to 19,273.79. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.24% to 6,965.82, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.52% to 920.65.
On the macro front
The consumer price index, the jobless claims report, the Empire State manufacturing survey, the PMI manufacturing index flash, the housing market index, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet, the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey, the Treasury International Capital report and the money supply report are due out today.
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