Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on the day’s business news with a focus on Washington.

Executive pay evolving: Washington-area CEOs saw only a 1 percent salary bump in 2013 (excluding pensions), compared to a 6.2 percent hike for executives nationally, according to an analysis of recent pay packages, which showed that less of that pay is coming in the form of actual cash. Our area’s highest earning executive actually saw his pay drop last year — leaving him earning a measly $33 million. (WP)

Speaking of payouts: A deal to relocate the National Science Foundation to Alexandria on Wednesday yielded a big payday for Hubert N. Hoffman and his family, who bought the site for NSF’s next home back in the 1950s. The Hoffmans have now sold the project to real estate titan USAA Real Estate Co. in San Antonio. (CAPBIZ)

Qiagen moves manufacturing: Biotech company Qiagen plans to begin moving 250 employees and manufacturing operations from an office in Gaithersburg to the firm’s headquarters in Germantown as it looks to consolidate its business operations in Maryland. And the German company isn’t done investing in the state. (CAPBIZ)

Lobbyists set out on their own: Five partners at Washington lobbying powerhouse Williams & Jensen have left to start their own shop specializing in banking, nuclear, telecommunications, defense, energy and transportation issues. And it appears they may lure several clients away from their former $17 million company. (CAPBIZ)

Departing now: Metro’s chief financial officer and the executive director of the Silver Line are both resigning, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced on Wednesday. Both executives had come under fire recently, the former for questionable contracting practices, the latter for a multitude of construction delays. (WP)

Making room for us? Reed Smith LLP has renegotiated its lease in an office building overlooking Franklin Square in downtown Washington, leaving enough room for a potential lease for The Washington Post, which we recently reported had been eyeing the building for its new headquarters. (WBJ)

Fed staying the course: In her second speech as head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen assured Americans that the central bank will continue to keep interest rates low for some time, as the economy has started to move slowly toward full employment but still lacks the stability her team needs to see to lay off the throttle. (REU)

Economy finding its footing: The Federal Reserve’s latest anecdotal look at the economy, the so-called Beige Book, showed that economic growth picked up across most of the United States over the past two months. Highways and ports were busier, home prices were up, and in only two areas of the country did economic growth slow. (AP)

Alibaba looking monstrous: New earnings reports have investors buzzing about Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, which plans to go public on the U.S. stock market in the coming weeks. Some of that buzz stems from the fact that Alibaba’s net income last quarter outpaced eBay and Amazon – combined. (WP)

On Wall Street

Stocks moved higher across the board on Wednesday, bolstered by strong economic data on the housing front. The Dow has now recorded its largest three-day gain this year. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

Unemployment claims, Labor Department (8:30 a.m.)

Consumer comfort index, Bloomberg (9:45 a.m.)

Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman CEO, speaking to the Economic Club of Washington (8:00 a.m.)

John Jumper, Leidos CEO, speaking to the Atlantic Council (10:30 a.m.)

Help: How to compete with larger competitors for top talent (OSB)

Follow: Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, which recently open in Crystal City

Extra: Think you could still do as well on the new SAT? Find out. (WP)