Wall St. climbs on Powell comments, earnings

Wall St. climbs on Powell comments, earnings

Demand increased after upbeat comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about the US economy in congressional testimony yesterday, a message he reiterated today before a US House panel.

"Overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we now anticipate", he said.

While Fed officials have supported Powell's two rate hikes this year with no dissents, one key policymaker, Neel Kashkari, the president of the Fed's Minneapolis regional bank, said in an essay Monday that he was growing concerned about the narrowing gap between short-term interest rates and long-term rates.

Powell has sought a balance in steering the economy.

Lower tariffs would be a good thing for the USA economy, he said.

Powell faced a number of questions for a second day from lawmakers about the threat that a trade war poses for the USA and global economies.

Following the gold prices, silver dropped by Rs 620 to Rs 39,200 per kg due to poor offtake by industrial units and coin makers, according to the report.

The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.1610.

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Meanwhile, oil prices were slightly softer after US crude inventories grew last week, rather than declined as expected, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Wage growth is starting to pick up. The dollar climbed to a six-month high against the yen.

But the latest inflation figures were surprisingly low, backing an argument by Investec economist Annabel Bishop earlier in the week that Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago could be less hawkish in tone when he delivers the rates decision on Thursday.

He noted that the number of people in the workforce had remained stable, which is "a sign of labor market strength", given the retirement of the baby boom generation which is taking workers out of the labor force.

Having said all that, Powell concluded that we live in a time of extraordinary technological change and regulators should be open to new ideas and innovations that will drive economic growth and improvements in the financial system.

"On a brighter note, moderate wage growth also tells us that the job market is not causing high inflation", Powell said.

"Currency weaknesses are resulting in outperformance for European indices against their United States counterparts", Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, said.

In the past, when this yield curve has become inverted - meaning that short-term rates are higher than long-term rates - that development has often signaled a recession.

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