Wall Street higher after Powell says gradual rate hikes counter risks

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose higher on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the gradual interest-rate hikes are meant to balance risks as it tries to keep the economy on track.

At 12:01 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 303.60 points, or 1.23 percent, at 25,052.33, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 23.41 points, or 0.87 percent, at 2,705.58 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 64.15 points, or 0.91 percent, at 7,146.85.

A few minutes before the speech, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 186.35 points, or 0.75 percent, at 24,935.08, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 9.76 points, or 0.36 percent, at 2,691.93 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 28.90 points, or 0.41 percent, at 7,111.60.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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