Wall St gains ahead of Fed Chair Powell's speech

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Wall St gains ahead of Fed Chair Powell's speech
Credit: © Reuters.

By Amruta Khandekar and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained on Friday ahead of a keenly awaited speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole summit that could indicate the central bank's interest rate move at its next meeting in September.

Powell is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at 10:05 a.m. ET (1405 GMT) at a research conference that will see participation from top global central bankers.

Analysts believe a strong dovish tilt from Powell is unlikely and expect him to keep the door open for further tightening to curb inflation.

"He's not likely to say the inflation battle is over (and) we are ending the tightening restrictive period," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

"He will probably continue to say that they (the Fed) are going to continue to monitor the inflation data on a month-on-month basis as they have been."

Investors will also closely monitor the University of Michigan's final reading of the consumer sentiment index, scheduled at 10:00 a.m. ET.

A spate of strong economic data, including a fall in last week's jobless claims, that signalled robust consumer demand and a tight labor market, has dampened hopes that the Fed could be close to the end of its rate-hike cycle.

Traders' bet that the Fed would pause its rate hikes in September slipped to 80.5% from 89% a week ago, while the odds of a 25-basis-point rate hike in November have gone up to nearly 42% from 33%, according to the CME Group's (NASDAQ: CME ) FedWatch tool.

Still, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has risen 1.9% this week, largely due a rally in shares of megacap growth stocks in the run up to Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA )'s second-quarter results, which were reported on Wednesday.

Shares of Nvidia slipped 1.3% after nearly erasing all their gains in the previous session as some traders took profits following a blowout forecast from the chip-designer.

Shares of other megacap growth stocks were mixed, with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) up 1.4% and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) down 0.7%.

The S&P consumer discretionary sector rose 0.9% while the energy index was up 0.7%.

At 9:33 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 214.00 points, or 0.63%, at 34,313.42, the S&P 500 was up 21.96 points, or 0.50%, at 4,398.27, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 78.41 points, or 0.58%, at 13,542.38.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note and that on the two-year note edged higher ahead of Powell's speech.

Shares of Marvell Technology fell 5.4% after the chipmaker posted a fall in second-quarter revenue, hit by a weak enterprise market.

Shares of clothing firm Gap rose 4.0% after the company beat second-quarter profit estimates, while Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN ) slipped 4.1% after the department store chain left its forecasts unchanged.

Hawaiian Electric dropped 19.1% after the county of Maui sued the power company and S&P downgraded its credit rating amid scrutiny over its role in the Maui wildfires.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., July 19, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.33-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.16-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 5 new highs and 40 new lows.

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