DJIA: 33,891.35, up 596.40
S&P 500: 4,386.54, up 80.28
Nasdaq: 13,752.02, up 219.56
Stocks rally, yields spike on Fed comments
U.S. stocks finished firmly higher on Wednesday as investors monitored the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and parsed Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. The Fed chief voiced his support for a 25-basis point (0.25%) rate hike at the March policy meeting, but noted that officials could raise rates at a faster clip in the future to combat persistent inflation. Powell also acknowledged that geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe had added a layer of uncertainty to the outlook. The Dow jumped 596 points, while the S&P 500 rebounded 1.9%. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.6%, recouping yesterday’s losses.
Treasuries declined for the first time in five days, with the yield on the 10-year note surging 17 basis points (0.17%) to 1.90%, while the two-year note yield spiked 18 basis points (0.18%) to 1.53%. On the data front, U.S. private payrolls increased 475,000 in February, while the prior month’s contraction was upwardly revised to reflect a gain of 509,000. Meanwhile, energy markets extended recent gains as refiners self-imposed restrictions on purchasing Russian oil. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped another 7.7% to $111.33/barrel, near an overnight peak of $111.50/barrel, the highest level in over a decade.
All 11 S&P 500 finished in positive territory, with Financials, Materials and Energy stocks leading the bounce. In earnings, Nordstrom, Inc. soared 37.8% following a top and bottom line beat. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. rallied 8.4% on plans to separate its electric vehicle operations from its legacy business.
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