Stocks rose on Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed that the central bank will slow down its aggressive campaign to raise interest rates which has weighed on the markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 440 points, or 1.3%. Meanwhile, the heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.1%. The S&P 500 added 2.1%.
“It makes sense that we adjust the pace of our price increases as we approach a level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring down inflation,” he said. He said in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Capital. “The time to adjust the pace of interest rate increases may come as soon as we meet in December.”
Powell warned that the Fed may remain restrictive for a long time before ending its fight against inflation.
“Despite some promising developments, we still have a long way to go to restore price stability,” Powell said.
Powell’s comments reinforced growing optimism among some investors that the Fed will raise interest rates by half a percentage point at its next meeting on December 14 after four consecutive increases of three-quarters of a point to tame soaring inflation.
“Investors are looking for that rock of certainty — something to hang on to in order to increase the predictability of where the Fed is going in terms of interest rates,” said Greg Pasuk, CEO of AXS Investments. “The messages that the pace of the rate increase could start to slow as early as December has been that rock.”
The 10-year Treasury yield fell slightly on the news.
The Dow and S&P 500 are both set to end the month up more than 4%, while the Nasdaq Composite is on track to gain about 3%.