Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

A face familiar to Wall Street is back as a central player that this time will need to steer the country out of a deep economic crisis.

Driving the news: President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to nominate former Fed chair Janet Yellen to be Treasury secretary.

  • If she's confirmed (as widely expected), it'll be historic: Yellen will be the first woman in U.S. history to head up Treasury — and the first ever to have held three of the most powerful economic posts in government.

Why it matters: The Treasury secretary wields enormous power in policy on regulations, taxes and the broad economy. Their actions can either reassure and spook financial markets. (Remember Mnuchin's infamous call with the big banks?)

  • "Investors shouldn’t worry that [Yellen] will make off-the-cuff remarks that will spur volatility. She’s the ultimate steady hand," Ian Katz, a financial policy analyst at Capital Alpha Partners, said in a note.
  • "While she isn’t the kind of hands-off free-marketeer that investors would prefer if they had the choice, she isn’t going to make markets nervous."

The big picture: Monetary policy has already played a big role in economic recovery efforts. The Fed is expected to continue to play an outsized part with Yellen at Treasury.

What they're saying: "We can bake in that the Biden administration will drive a Fed-dominated agenda," David Wagner, an analyst at Aptus Capital Advisors, tells Axios.

  • "The government will continue to lean on [chair] Jerome Powell to support the market and act as a backstop since there is still plenty of skepticism on getting a stimulus deal done with the likelihood of a split Congress."

The big picture: Job number one is tackling the pandemic's blow to the economy as the resurgence of the coronavirus threatens a second downturn. Yellen's spate of interviews in recent months also points to how she could approach other priorities as Treasury secretary.

Fed-Treasury relationship: "It would be wrong-minded for the Fed to spend all of its time worrying about how — in some future world, by doing what they were set up to do — they would lose some autonomy," Yellen said in a WSJ interview in April.

Fiscal package: "This is not a good time to have fiscal policy switch from being accommodative to creating a drag. That’s what happened [in the 2008 financial crisis], and it retarded the recovery," Yellen told the WSJ last month.

Debt: "[O]ne day in the future ... after this is over and the economy is recovered, we’ll have to deal with deficits and get them under control, but now is the time when I think it’s not necessary to worry about it," Yellen said in testimony before Congress in July.

U.S.-China trade: "I do think the United States has real issues in terms of its trade relations with China and many valid concerns that are certainly on the table for discussion," Yellen said in an interview alongside the World Bank's David Malpass.

Climate change: "What I see is a growing recognition on both sides of the aisle that climate change is a very serious concern and that action needs to occur," Yellen, who's long-supported a carbon tax, told Reuters.

Capitalism: "There really is a new kind of recognition that you’ve got a society where capitalism is beginning to run amok and needs to be readjusted in order to make sure that what we’re doing is sustainable and the benefits of growth are widely shared in ways they haven’t been," she said to Reuters.

The Yellen bump
Data: FactSet; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The stock market hit close to its highest levels of the trading day following reports of Yellen's coming appointment before the gains moderated.

  • Bank stocks also rose near the highest levels of the day following the reports.

Go deeper

Robinhood has a stacked policy team — and it's going to need it

Photo Illustration: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The stock-trading app Robinhood has an arsenal of political power brokers it can deploy on its behalf as it faces congressional inquiries over its role in an internet-fueled market manipulation frenzy.

Why it matters: The populist, discount trading platform is going to need that firepower because its decision to suspend trading of stock in GameStop and a number of other companies on Thursday has sparked criticism and promised inquiries from both sides of the aisle.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

GameStop leads another day of nostalgia trading

Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

The best-performing stocks this week are brands familiar to anyone who used to hang out in malls as a kid in the mid-2000s.

Why it matters: Some stocks — GameStop foremost among them — have been on fire to the point that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the SEC are taking notice.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.