Fed Nominee Janet Yellen Eases Markets

Morning Money Memo:

The introduction of Janet Yellen as Fed chair nominee helps ease markets. The markets responded positively Wednesday to the news; the Dow posted a 26-point gain, just its second positive day since the government shutdown began Oct. 1. Yellen will come in during a crucial time for the Fed, as the central bank will unquestionably debate when to curtail its $85 billion a month bond-buying program, and begin raising short-term interest rates.

House Republicans considered a plan Wednesday aimed at extending the nation's borrowing for four to six weeks, with added provisions for wider deficit-reduction talks. The short-term measure does not appear to address the Affordable Care Act, which is president Obama's landmark health care bill. It has been the catalyst for the now 10-day shutdown. The president echoed support Wednesday for a short-term, debt-limit increase. The country must raise its borrowing limit by Oct. 17 to avoid being unable to pay its bills

Talk in Washington of a short-term increase in the debt limit sent positive messages throughout the markets early today. Dow and S&P futures are up big in early trading. Crude oil gained slightly to $102. Gold fell below $1,300 for the first time since July, ending the day at $1,297 an ounce, after positive gains made by the U.S. dollar. European markets are in the green across the board, ranging from plus-3 on the German Stoxx, to plus-306 on the Italian exchange. Asian markets fluctuated today, with the Nikkei posting a 156-point gain, while the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges both fell into the red for the day.

Microsoft's Board of Directors is rumored to be fast at work finding a new CEO. The new chief executive could come as early as the end of the year. The company is reviewing a list of candidates, and could make a decision once certain conditions are met. Microsoft has had only two chief executives in its 38-year history; co-founder Bill Gates, and retiring CEO Steve Ballmer.

Many of the 800,000 furloughed federal workers are returning or have returned to work , but a significant number remain in limbo. Total losses from the shutdown are expected to cross $3 billion today. Meanwhile, Congress unanimously voted to reinstate military death benefits to the families of U.S. service members. These payments were suspended when the shutdown began. The decision came shortly after the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation agreed to cover the benefits that were stalled by the shutdown.

- ABC News' John G. Kapetaneas

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