Tech leads way to Wall Street rebound as Powell promises steady hand

Led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, Wall Street closed Tuesday higher, bouncing back from a sell-off set off last week by a Fed policy update that suggested officials believed rates would rise more quickly to counter rising inflation. — AFP pic
Led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, Wall Street closed Tuesday higher, bouncing back from a sell-off set off last week by a Fed policy update that suggested officials believed rates would rise more quickly to counter rising inflation. — AFP pic

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WASHINGTON, June 23 ― Wall Street rebounded yesterday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed not to raise rates too quickly as the dollar and oil gave up earlier gains.

Led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, Wall Street closed Tuesday higher, bouncing back from a sell-off set off last week by a Fed policy update that suggested officials believed rates would rise more quickly to counter rising inflation.

The Nasdaq closed at another record high, as top-shelf tech companies resumed their growth trajectories.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.61 points, or 0.2 per cent and the S&P 500 gained 21.65 points, or 0.51 per cent to 4,246.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 111.79 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 14,253.27.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, rose 4.4 points or 0.62 per cent.

“I really think there's a realisation that this is a ripe environment: rates are still low and for stock investors, this hits a 'just right' tone,” said Patrick Leary, chief market strategist at Incapital. “The market is concerned about rising inflation numbers and was getting more unnerved as the Fed dismissed them until last week’s meeting.”

Testifying before Congress, Powell vowed that the Fed will not raise rates out of fear of potential rising inflation, and instead will prioritise a “broad and inclusive” recovery of the job market. He said recent price increases do not suggest higher rates are needed, and instead can be attributed to categories directly impacted by economic reopening.

“After the FOMC took the wind out of the reflation trade at the end of last week, that’s started to reverse over the last two days. It seems last week’s price action went too far,” said Stephanie Roth, senior markets economist for JP Morgan Private Bank.

Powell's remarks pushed yields on benchmark 10-year Treasuries lower, dipping to yield 1.4649 per cent after clearing 1.5 per cent earlier in the day.

The dollar also dipped as Powell spoke, with the dollar index falling 0.20 per cent to 91.733. It is holding below a two-month high of 92.408 reached on Friday.

Oil slid slightly after Brent rose above US$75 (RM312) a barrel for the first time in over two years, as Opec+ discussed raising oil production.

Brent crude futures settled down 9 cents to US$74.81 a barrel after hitting a session high of US$75.30 a barrel, the strongest since April 25, 2019.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 60 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to US$73.06 a barrel.

Bitcoin began making a comeback of sorts, climbing back above US$30,000 after hitting lows not seen since January. The cryptocurrency last traded at US$32,831, but has nearly halved in value over the last three months. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies came in for heavy selling on Monday, hurt by a tightening crackdown on trading and mining in China.

Spot gold prices fell US$4.8691 or 0.27 per cent, to US$1,778.08 an ounce. ― Reuters

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