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U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher On Renewed Rate Cut Optimism

wallstreet oct16 10jul19 lt

Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks showed a strong move to the upside early in the trading day on Wednesday. With the early advance, the major averages reached new record intraday highs.

The major averages have pulled back off their best levels in recent trading but remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 99.09 points or 0.4 percent at 26,882.58, the Nasdaq is up 49.16 points or 0.6 percent at 8,190.89 and the S&P 500 is up 12.48 points or 0.4 percent at 2,992.11.

The early rally on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's prepared remarks before the House Financial Services Committee.

Powell told lawmakers that crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have continued to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook since the central bank's June meeting.

The Fed chief pointed out that increased uncertainties about the economic outlook and muted inflation pressures led the central bank to pledge after the June meeting to "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion."

Powell noted that many meeting participants saw that the case for a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy had already strengthened.

"Since then, based on incoming data and other developments, it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook," Powell said in his prepared remarks.

The comments from Powell have led to renewed optimism about a potential rate cut by the Fed at its next meeting later this month.

The minutes of the Fed's June meeting, due to be released later in the day, may shed additional light on the outlook for interest rates.

Tobacco stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside in morning trading, driving the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index up by 1.8 percent.

Natural gas, software, and semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after an initial move to the downside. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 2.049 percent.

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