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  • US stocks rose on Wednesday as investors took in Powell’s remarks on interest rates.

  • Rates could come down “significantly” over the next few years, the Fed chief said.

  • But the path of interest rates will depend on whether inflation continues to cool.

US stocks rose on Wednesday as markets took in Jerome Powell’s testimony before Congress, during which the chief central banker said the central bank is still looking at rate cuts in 2024.

All three benchmark indexes rose, while bond yields were slightly lower.

The US is still on a “good path” to a soft landing, Powell said, a scenario where inflation falls to the Fed’s 2% target without the economy slipping into a recession.

“We expect inflation to come down, the economy to keep growing … if that’s the case, it will be appropriate for interest rates to come down significantly over the coming years,” Powell said during the first day of his testimony to Congress.

Markets appeared to shrug off the Fed chair’s more hawkish comments, as he also noted that inflation falling to 2% still isn’t a sure thing.

“The Fed can afford to sit on higher rates until the labor market starts to crack,” Jamie Cox, a managing partner at Harris Financial Group, said in a statement on Wednesday.  “Maximum employment is the stronger of the two mandates for rate cuts, and there is no there, there to force cuts at this point.”

Some investors, though, are still betting on aggressive rate cuts by the end of the year. Markets are pricing in a 51% chance the Fed could cut interest rates more than 75 basis-points, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

Regional bank turmoil resumed after The Wall Street Journal reported that New York Community was looking to raise capital to stabilize its business. Shares plunged as much as 47% before rising sharply again after it was announced that the bank would get a $1 billion infusion from a group including the firm led by former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. closing bell on Wednesday: 

Here’s what else is going on today: 

In commodities, bonds, and crypto: 

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 1.15% to $79.05 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, increased 1% to $82.85 a barrel.

  • Gold edged up 0.6% to $2,155.10 per ounce.

  • The 10-year Treasury yield dropped two basis points to 4.1o8%.

  • Bitcoin surged 7.72% to $67,428.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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