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U.S. stocks are rising as investors await Powell's speech at Fed confab

Published 08/25/2023, 10:00 PM
© Reuters
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Investing.com -- U.S. stocks were rising as investors prepared to hear from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this morning from the central bank's Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference.

At 09:42 ET (13:42 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 157 or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.5% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.6%.

Wall Street’s main indices slumped Thursday, despite stunning results from Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), the world's most valuable chipmaker, as better-than-expected unemployment data saw jitters mount ahead of Powell's eagerly-awaited speech.

The blue-chip index fell 370 points, or 1.1%, its worst day since March.

Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole in spotlight

The yearly gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., started on Thursday. Last year, Powell used this speech to warn of “some pain” ahead in the battle against inflation, hitting the stock market, and any hints about the Fed's rate outlook are sure to reverberate strongly.

The Fed is trying to walk a tightrope. Inflation readings have been cooling in the past few months, but prices still aren't back to the Fed's annual 2% target and a still-tight labor market gives officials reason to remain vigilant.

The U.S. central bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at its next meeting in September, but there still remains a chance that it raises by another quarter of a percentage point at its November meeting.

Michigan consumer sentiment due

The University of Michigan's latest consumer sentiment reading is the main economic data release Friday and is expected to show that confidence has slipped slightly in August to 71.2, down from the prior month’s 71.6 reading.

Earlier Friday, data showed that the mood among German businesses deteriorated more than expected in August, falling for the fourth month in a row and adding to fears that the eurozone’s largest economy may be heading for its second recession inside a year.

Affirm soars after jump in transactions

The quarterly earnings season is coming to a close. Affirm (NASDAQ:AFRM) posted a jump in transactions on its platforms that beat expectations.

Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL) stock fell 6.6% after the chipmaker posted a fall in second quarter revenue, hit by a weak enterprise market, while Hawaiian Electric (NYSE:HE) slumped 22% after the county of Maui sued the power company, accusing it of acting negligently by failing to shut down its equipment, sparking wildfires.

Crude on course for losing week

Oil prices firmed Friday, but remained on course for a second consecutive week as concerns over slowing Chinese demand and increased U.S. supply as well as a stronger dollar weighed.

The dollar jumped to its strongest level since early June earlier Friday, ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole symposium. Strength in the dollar weighs on oil markets by making crude more expensive for international buyers.

WTI was up 1.2% to $80.03 a barrel, while Brent was up 1% to $84.25 a barrel. Gold was down 0.3% to $1,941.

(Peter Nurse and Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)

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