U.S. stocks accelerated gains Wednesday afternoon with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallying 400 points as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that interest rates are “just below” neutral,” taking a more benign stance than from early October. “Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy–that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth,” Powell said in a speech at the Economic Club of New York. Last month, he had said that rates are “a long way from neutral at this point, probably.” Stocks, which had been trading higher, gained momentum following his comments. The S&P 500 SPX, +1.55% rose 35 points, or 1.3%, to 2,717 and the Dow DJIA, +1.93% added 404 points, or 1.6%, to 25,156 while the Nasdaq COMP, +1.90% advanced 101 points, or 1.4%, to 7,183.
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