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U.S. stocks close higher on Powell's testimony, Fed minutes

2019-07-11 06:45

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NEW YORK, July 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended higher on Wednesday, as investors' hope for rate cut was bolstered following the monetary policy testimony of the U.S. Federal Reserve's chairman and the central bank's latest meeting minutes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 76.71 points, or 0.29 percent, to 26,860.20. The S&P 500 rose 13.44 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,993.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 60.80 points, or 0.75 percent, to 8,202.53.

Wall Street got a boost as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell fueled hopes for potential rate cuts later this month in his dovish testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday morning.

"Many FOMC participants saw that the case for a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy had strengthened," he said, adding that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy have continued to "weigh on the U.S. economic outlook."

Inflation has been also running below the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) symmetric 2 percent objective, he noted, amid the above-mentioned "crosscurrents" that have created greater uncertainty since May.

Federal Reserve officials also supported a near-term rate cut, which "could help cushion the effects of possible future adverse shocks to the economy," according to the FOMC's minutes of its meeting on June 18-19, which was released on Wednesday afternoon.

"Participants generally agreed that downside risks to the outlook for economic activity had risen materially since their May meeting, particularly those associated with ongoing trade negotiations and slowing economic growth abroad," said the minutes.

Shares of Comcast rose nearly 1.9 percent, after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company's stock to "buy" from "hold."

The bank believed that the U.S. telecom giant is "positioned to sustain double-digit growth" in earnings over the next five years.

Shares of Levi Strauss tumbled around 12 percent, after the U.S. apparel giant reported a slump in its second-quarter profit, as dragged down by "a stronger dollar, higher marketing costs, and investments in its online business."

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded higher around market close, with the energy sector up over 1.3 percent, leading the gainers.

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