U.S. stocks were higher midday Friday, pushing further into record territory, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in two days of congressional testimony this week bolstered investor expectations for an interest-rate cut at the end of the month.
How are the major benchmarks performing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.51% rose 133 points, or 0.5%, to 27,222, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.20% gained 6 points, or 0.2%, to 3,006. The Nasdaq Composite index COMP, +0.38% was 29 points higher at 8,225, a gain of 0.4%.
The Dow hit a new intraday high of 27,248.71, while the S&P set a new intraday record of 3,006.90.
The Dow on Thursday rose 227.88 points, or 0.8%, to 27,088.08, marking its first close above 27,000. The S&P 500 also pushed back into record territory, advancing 6.84 points, or 0.2%, to end at 2,999.91. The Nasdaq Composite, which scored a record close on Wednesday, pulled back, ending 6.49 points lower Thursday at 8,196.04, a loss of 0.1%.
What’s driving the market?
Powell, in Thursday testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, said the U.S. economy is in a “very good place” but had only partly recovered from a “confidence shock” it suffered in May due to the U.S.- China trade war. Powell’s comments on Thursday, and his appearance before a House panel on Wednesday, were seen affirming expectations the Fed will move at its July 30-31 meeting to cut its fed-funds rate by at least a quarter point and to potentially deliver further cuts before year-end.
Powell’s “downbeat tone when reflecting on the economic outlook and inflation combined with his complete lack of desire to correct market expectations, despite a cut being 100% priced in this month, gave investors exactly what they wanted,”