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Stocks jumped after Powell signaled a rate cut is possible, noting “crosscurrents have reemerged, creating greater uncertainty” in the U.S. economy.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all hit new intraday highs. The S&P crossed the 3,000 threshold for the first time.
The Nasdaq Composite needs to finish up more than 28.50 points for a record close.
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Powell’s comment came in prepared remarks.
His testimony is underway with full coverage on FOXBusiness.com.
Oil prices jumped 3 percent on Wednesday after a reduction in U.S. crude inventories was more than expected and as major producers evacuated rigs in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an expected storm.
Shares of tech companies such as Amazon.com, Apple and Facebook helped to lift the Nasdaq and the S&P.
In Asian markets on Wednesday, China’s Shanghai Composite ended 0.4 percent lower after Chinese producer price inflation came in flat, raising concerns about domestic growth. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 percent and Japan’s Nikkei was off 0.2 percent.
European markets closed lower. London’s FTSE slipped 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX was off 0.5 percent and France’s CAC was down 0.1 percent.