- REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
- Stocks hit fresh intraday highs Friday as Wall Street held firm to expectations that the Federal Reserve would soon step in to support the economy.
- In congressional testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, Powell reaffirmed that the central bank would take action to sustain the decade-long expansion.
- That reassured investors who had seen a rate cut as less likely following a strong June jobs report last week.
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Stocks hit fresh intraday highs Friday as Wall Street held firm to expectations that the Federal Reserve would soon step in to support the economy.
All three major US averages have notched new records in the days after the Fed Chairman Jay Powell signaled that policymakers would slash interest rates at the end of the month. That reassured investors who had seen a rate cut as less likely following a strong June jobs report last week.
Here’s a look at the numbers as of noon ET:
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.43% to 27,204.78
- The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.36% to 8228.87
- The S&P 500 climbed 0.11% to 3002.03
In congressional testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, Powell reaffirmed that the central bank would take action to sustain the decade-long expansion. The central bank has dimmed its outlook for the economy this year on the back of slowing global growth, below-target inflation, and trade tensions.
“Inflation is low, and the yield curve is indicating that monetary policy may be too tight for the uncertain trade environment,” said LPL Research Chief Investment Strategist John Lynch. “Economic fundamentals are still sound, so we view any Fed cuts at this point as a course correction, not a reaction to recessionary signals.”
The US and China last week restarted negotiations to defuse a trade war that has rattled the largest economies, but the two sides remained far apart on key issues. On Friday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNBC the talks had entered a “quiet period.”
A day earlier, however, government data showed that the consumer price index, a key measure of core inflation, rebounded to its fastest pace in nearly a year and a half in June. The probability of a half-percentage-point cut edged slightly higher on Friday, according to CME Group, but most expected the central bank to lower its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points.
“The June CPI report will not stop the Fed easing later this month unless all the other data over the next three weeks are out of the park, but the data certainly mean that a 50bp cut is an unnecessary risk,” said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Within the S&P 500, these were the largest gainers:
- JB Hunt Transport (+5.26%)
- Garrett Motion (+4.66%)
- Capri Holdings (+4.07%)
And the largest decliners:
- Illumina Inc (-15.43%)
- Johnson & Johnson (-4.55%)
- Abiomed (-2.88%)
The yield on the 10-year note rose to 2.122%, and the short-term two-year yield edged lower to 1.845%.
On the energy front, oil prices were mixed as traders weighed an expected storm in the Gulf of Mexico against expectations for weaker demand. Lower-than-expected inventory in the US and Iran tensions have also supported prices in recent days.