Market Update: U.S. Stocks Rise After Fed Chairman Testimony; Earnings in Focus

U.S. stocks rebounded Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that economic growth and inflation should keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates later this year.

Stocks Rise

All of Wall Street’s major indexes reported gains on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index returning to record territory. The technology-focused average climbed 0.6% to 7,855.12.

The broader S&P 500 Index rose 0.4% to close at 2,809.55, with seven of 11 primary sectors finishing in positive territory. Materials stocks were the biggest gainers, rising 1.3% as a cluster. Technology, consumer staples and healthcare stocks also outperformed the broader market.

Dow industrials gained 55.53 points, or 0.2%, to close at 25,119.89.

Expectations of 30-day volatility drifted toward six-month lows on Tuesday in a sign of prevailing calm on Wall Street. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index declined 6% to 12.06.on a scale where 20 represents the historic average.

Powell Testifies

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Congressional hearings began Tuesday in a session chaired by the Senate Banking Committee. Though not appearing overly hawkish, the Fed leader indicated that short-term interest rates are likely headed higher in the coming months.

“Overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we currently anticipate,” Powell said.

He added: “The unemployment rate is low and expected to fall further. Americans who want jobs have a good chance of finding them.”

The Fed’s policy-setting board is scheduled to meet July 31 but is not expected to raise interest rates again until the September gathering. Policymakers and investors have priced in two more upward adjustments this year to the federal funds rate.

Powell will resume his testimony on Wednesday.

Earnings in the Spotlight

With corporate earnings season in full swing, investors are closely monitoring top- and bottom-line results of S&P 500 companies.

Netflix (NFLX) reported weaker than expected subscriber growth late Monday, sending share prices sharply lower. According to The Wall Street Journal, the stock was poised for its single-worst session in two years.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) posted bottom-line results that were higher than expected, but rising legal costs weighed on share prices. The Wall Street giant reported per-share earnings of $5.98, crushing forecasts for $4.66. Organization-wide revenue jumped 19% to $9.40 billion, compared with estimates for $8.74 billion.

The earnings season is off to a positive start with roughly nine of ten S&P 500 companies posting stronger than expected profit results. However, as of Friday, only 5% of the S&P 500’s constituents had reported.

Despite the robust results, half of the S&P 500 companies that reported as of Friday said currency swings had a negative impact on their business. After a disastrous start to the year, the U.S. dollar index has returned more than 6% over the past three months. DXY rose half a percent on Tuesday.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi

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