US Stocks End Higher Amid Second Day of Fed Chair Powell's Congressional Testimony

Last Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2022 4:33 PM | MT Newswires

US stocks ended higher despite taking a dip into negative territory midday Thursday, with a manufacturing gauge hitting close to a two-year low and as investors kept track of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's congressional testimony over monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% to 30,677.36, the S&P 500 was up 1% to 3,795.73 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.6% to 11,232.19.

Utilities and healthcare led the gainers while energy and materials were the steepest decliners.

The US 10-year yield slumped 6.5 basis points to 3.1%.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures dropped 2% to $104.07 per barrel.

On the second and last day of his testimony, Powell reiterated the Fed's commitment to bringing inflation under control. He said on Wednesday that a recession was "certainly a possibility" and that nothing was off the table in response to a question about the odds of a 100-basis-point hike.

There seemed to be a "noticeable departure from earlier optimism indicating at least somewhat of a softish landing was still possible," Stifel said in a Thursday report, referring to yesterday's testimony.

In other economic news, the June flash reading of manufacturing conditions from S&P Global fell to 52.4 in June from 57 in May, compared with 56 expected in a survey compiled by Bloomberg. The decline follows reading from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve banks that indicated outright contraction in the sector.

US initial jobless claims fell to 229,000 during the week ended June 18 from 231,000 in the previous week. It compared with expectations for a drop to 226,000 in a survey compiled by Bloomberg. The US current account deficit widened to $291.41 billion in Q1 from $224.84 billion in the previous quarter, a wider gap than the $275 billion estimated in a survey compiled by Bloomberg.

In company news, Morgan Stanley lowered Caterpillar's (CAT) price target to $161 from $164 while maintaining its underweight stock rating. Shares of the construction equipment supplier dropped 4.9%, the worst performer on the Dow.

Mosaic Company (MOS) reported higher revenue from potash and phosphates in May, compared with a year earlier, even with a decline in sales volumes. Shares of the firm sank 9.6%, the steepest decliner on the S&P 500.

Gold was down 0.6% to $1,827.00 per troy ounce and silver was down 2.2% to $21.02 per ounce. Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund dropped 2.4% to $78.98, and the United States Natural Gas Fund fell 8.1% to $21.34.

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