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National Commerce to buy Florida bank; FOMC likely to raise rates

The Federal Open Market Committee will release its benchmark interest rate decision at 2 p.m. ET today. The committee is expected to increase the federal funds rate by 25 basis points.

Meanwhile, analysts are predicting that newly appointed Fed Chair Jerome Powell would hold more press conferences than his predecessors. Markets generally expect that the Fed only makes changes to its federal funds rate at meetings with press conferences, where the chair can explain the change.

In banking news, Birmingham, Ala.-based National Commerce Corp. is buying Bradenton, Fla.-based Premier Community Bank of FL.

Springfield, Mo.-based Great Southern Bank is selling all of its four branches in the Omaha, Neb., metropolitan market and approximately $58 million in deposits to West Gate Bank.

QCR Holdings Inc. will pay $3 million in cash plus up to $3 million common shares to acquire financial firm Bates Cos., which includes Bates Securities Inc., Bates Financial Advisors Inc., Bates Financial Services Inc. and Bates Financial Group Inc. The acquired entities will merge into Rockford Bank and Trust Co.'s wealth management unit.

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. has resolved the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's investigation of the company's compliance to fair lending laws. In the filing, Santander Holdings USA Inc. also disclosed that CEO Scott Powell received about $4.8 million in total annual compensation in 2017, compared to the median employee's total annual compensation of $52,902.

And asset manager Blackstone Group LP and Thomson Reuters Corp. are considering an initial public offering or a sale of their stake in Tradeweb Markets LLC, sources told Bloomberg. Tradeweb, which builds and operates electronic over-the-counter marketplaces, may be valued at more than $4 billion in an IPO or sale, the sources added.

In other parts of the world

Asia Pacific: Chinese P2P lender prices US IPO; Sony Life hits roadblocks in Australian deal

Europe: Lloyd's of London, Alpha Bank post losses; Axa ups stake in German insurer

Middle East & Africa: Ghana's uniBank placed in administration; FAB gets nod for Saudi commercial biz

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.43% to 31,414.52, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.47% to 21,380.97.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.37% to 7,034.84, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.01% to 1,024.89.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the current account report, the existing home sales report, the EIA petroleum status report, the FOMC meeting announcement and the FOMC Forecasts are due out today.

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