5 finalists have a shot to be the Fed's next chief

Interest rate hike

WASHINGTON - A White House official says President Donald Trump has narrowed his search for the next Federal Reserve chairman to five final candidates. A decision is expected before the president begins a trip to Asia on Nov. 3.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations, says the five finalists are current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, current Fed board member Jerome Powell, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, former Fed board member Kevin Warsh and Stanford University economist John Taylor.

The president is scheduled to interview Yellen on Thursday. After that meeting, he will have met and discussed the job with all five candidates.

With the list of potential candidates narrowed to five, the derby is taking its final shape. And that means Wall Street's oddsmakers are doing their thing. In a research brief released today, Oxford Economics revised its handicapping.

"We have updated our odds for the next Fed Chair following press reports that President Trump was very impressed with candidate John Taylor after meeting with him. We have raised Taylor's odds to 20 percent (previously we saw just 5 percent probability)," the firm said.

"Concurrently we have sharply lowered Kevin Warsh's odds to 15 percent (previously he was the leading contender at 40 percent)."

In addition, Oxford now sees a 25 percent chance that Janet Yellen will be reappointed, up from an earlier 15 percent estimate. The firm sees similar odds Fed board member Powell will get the nod. It noted that Powell "essentially shares Yellen's dovish stance on monetary policy, but he is more open to rolling back portions of the post-crisis financial market regulation."

The higher odds getting placed on Yellen reflect an apparent change in Mr. Trump's attitude toward her. During his campaign for the White House, he said Yellen should be "ashamed of herself"  for doing "political things" by holding interest rates so low for so long and propping up a "false stock market" in the process.

But since taking office, the president now claims to be a "low interest rate person" and has said he respected Yellen while frequently touting the stock market's post-election surge on Twitter.