S&P 500, Dow open at new intraday highs as bulls bank on Fed rate cut

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%.

Read: The Dow components that drove the blue-chip stock index to 27,000

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,”

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