US Stocks edge higher as traders wait for Powell’s Jackson Hole speech

Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell attends the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Thomson Reuters

US stocks rose higher as traders waited for Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole.
Last year, stocks plunged after Powell warned markets of “more pain” ahead.
Investors are largely pricing in at least one more rate hike from the Fed later this year.

US stocks rose Friday ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

Major indexes ticked higher as investors waited for the Fed chief to deliver his remarks around 10:05 am, in which he’s expected to give key guidance on the state of US economy and the potential path of monetary policy.

Markets have been eyeing the symposium to potentially have a large impact on stocks, particularly since central bankers won’t be meeting to discuss their next policy move until late September. Powell’s speech at the same event last year sent stocks plummeting as he reiterated the central bank’s committement to fighting inflation through interest rate hikes. 

At last year’s event, stocks plunged after Powell warned markets of “more pain” ahead, as the Fed would continue to stay hawkish on inflation. 

“Fed officials are highly attuned to the risk of declaring victory prematurely and would be loath to make the mistake — as the Fed did in the mid-1970s — of cutting rates, only to reverse course should inflation resurge,” Riley Wealth chief market strategist Art Hogan said in a statement on Friday. “Powell is expected to highlight some of the progress made in combating inflation but stay on script with his most recent commentary about the need to remain vigilant.” 

Markets, meanwhile, still think the odds are strong that the Fed holds rates steady at 5.25%-5.50% through the rest of the year, according to the CME FedWatch tool

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. opening bell on Friday: 

S&P 500: 4,395.40, up 0.42%Dow Jones Industrial Average: 34,271.13, up 0.5% (+171.71 points)Nasdaq Composite: 13,532.17, up 0.48% 

Here’s what else is going on today: 

Top economist Steve Hanke says stocks look expensive and a recession could be around the corner.The “mind-blowing” US debt binge is threatening the stability of the financial system, Larry McDonald warns.Russian sanctions aren’t working, Germany’s foreign minister says.Another Trump presidency could spark an economic and constitutional crisis, according to billionaire investor George Soros.Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is facing backlash for his inflation “chart crime.”

In commodities, bonds, and crypto: 

Oil prices traded higher. West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 1.5% to $80.26 a barrel. Brent, the international benchmark, rallied 1.46% to $84.60 a barrel. Gold slipped 0.3% to $1,941.80 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose one basis point to 4.253%.Bitcoin dipped 0.86% to $26,134.67. 

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