Wall Street Ends Strongly Higher, Powell Reassures Rate Concerns

A view near Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), in New York
FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, where markets were active after Russia continued to attack Ukraine, in New York, U.S., February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

March 2, 2022

By Devik Jain and Noel Randewich

(Reuters) – Wall Street ended the session sharply higher on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled the central bank is likely to raise interest rates below what some investors have seen. fear.

Powell’s comments, in testimony before the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, helped calm investors after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent markets into a tailspin.

Powell said he tended to favor a 25 basis point rate hike in March, quelling some concerns about the possibility of more aggressive rate hikes.

Traders now see a 95% probability of a 25 basis point rally in March. [IRPR]

All 11 S&P 500 industry indexes rallied, with the financials up 2.6% after falling sharply this week. The banking index rallied 3% after hitting its lowest level since September 2021 in the previous session.

Energy shares continued to march higher, with the S&P 500 energy index rising 2.2% as Brent crude rose to a near eight-year high after Western sanctions disrupted shipping export goods from Russia.

Russia’s invasion a week ago has yet to achieve its goal of overthrowing the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainians say they are fighting in the port of Kherson, the first major city Russia claims to capture, while air strikes and bombardment cause further devastation in other cities.

“From day to day, you go from fearing escalation could make things worse to hoping that it won’t really happen and cooler heads will prevail, and that the economy is strong enough to weather this,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta.

Apple ended 2.1% higher after announcing the product launch on March 8, when it was expected to advertise a low-cost version of the popular iPhone with 5G.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.79% to 33,891.35 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.86% to 4,386.54.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.62% to 13,752.02.

Mirroring the breadth of Wednesday’s rally, the S&P 500 value index gained 1.9% and the index added 1.7%.

Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 3.4%, up 8.2% in Micron Technology.

Volume on US exchanges was 13.1 billion shares, compared with an average of 12.4 billion for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Data showed that US private firms hired more workers than expected in February as the labor market recovered.

Nordstrom Inc jumped 38% after the department store chain forecast strong full-year revenue and profit.

Advances outnumbered discount issues on the NYSE by a ratio of 2.60 to 1; on Nasdaq, a ratio of 1.95 to 1 favors the bulls.

The S&P 500 posted 26 52-week highs and 2 new lows; Nasdaq Composite recorded 51 new highs and 123 new lows.

(Reporting by Devik Jain, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru, and Noel Randewich in Oakland, California; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Grant McCool) Wall Street Ends Strongly Higher, Powell Reassures Rate Concerns

Caroline Bleakley

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