Yellen’s hint and a new VW CEO — 5 things to know today

September 25, 2015, 10:40 AM UTC

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are higher today on the somewhat counter-intuitive thinking that the Federal Reserve may hike interest rates this year after all. Fed chair Janet Yellen dropped the hint in a speech at Amherst last night (where she also had to be receive medical attention after suffering from ‘dehydration’). Yellen’s hint has gone some way to dispelling the pessimism about the global economy that the Fed’s refusal to hike rates this month had caused.

Today’s must-read Fortune story is from Luke O’Brien, who penned an in-depth magazine profile of Will Ackerly, a former NSA internet security architect who left the government to found Virtru, a data encryption company that specializes in protecting email messages from hackers.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Janet Yellen hints at December rate hike

She may have struggled to get the words out, but the markets are listening this morning. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen suggested in a speech last night that the central bank may raise interest rates this year after all. The speech was overshadowed by a brief health scare that a Fed spokesman put down to “dehydration” and the bright lights under which she was speaking.

2. Mueller now driving for Volkswagen?

The troubled German automaker’s supervisory board is set to meet today to formally appoint the company’s new CEO. Reports that surfaced yesterday tabbed Porsche chief executive Matthias Mueller as the board’s presumptive pick to take over the company. VW’s leadership change comes after CEO Martin Winterkorn was forced to resign — along with three other high-ranking executives — in the wake of a huge scandal in which VW outfitted millions of its diesel vehicles with software to fool U.S. emissions tests for years. The move also comes as the company’s stock plummets, falling more than 30% this week.

3. U.S. Q2 GDP

The Commerce Department puts out its final reading on U.S. gross domestic product for this year’s second quarter, with the country’s economy expected to have grown at a pace of 3.7% during that period. Meanwhile, U.S. consumer sentiment is expected to have fallen less than previously thought in September, dropping from August’s rating of 91.9 to 87 this month (after preliminary estimates showed a drop to 85.7 earlier this month).

4. New iPhones available in stores

The latest models of Apple’s (AAPL) popular smartphones go on sale in stores across the U.S., following nearly two weeks of pre-orders. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus come in the same sizes as their predecessors, but feature new touch-sensitive technology called 3D Touch and are also now available in rose gold, among other new features.

5. Pope Francis in NYC

Everybody’s favorite pope arrived in New York City last night and has a full slate of appearances around the city lined up for today. Pope Francis will address the General Assembly at the United Nations this morning before heading downtown to visit the 9/11 memorial and he’ll later lead mass at Madison Square Garden. The pope’s MSG appearance, as well as a planned motorcade through Central Park, will be free to the public with tickets distributed through a lottery system that has apparently inspired a black market for scalpers. While Pope Francis’ visit is expected to generate millions of dollars in additional tourism for the cities he’s visiting, heightened security and other costs will also add up, with organizations like the World Meeting of Families and the federal government expected to foot a large portion of the bill.


— Reuters contributed to this report.

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