Market Pulse: Dow, S&P 500 close nearly 2% higher as stock market parses Powell’s House testimony, Ukraine-Russia conflict

U.S. stocks posted sharp gains on Wednesday, as Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rallied, as investors watched Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine and parsed testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who provided the clearest signals to date on the central bank’s plan later this month to lift interest rates in its combat against punchy inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose almost 600 points, or 1.8%, at around 33,889, and briefly recaptured a perch at 34,000 before pulling back somewhat.

The S&P 500 index

advanced 1.9% to 4,387, with all 11 sectors of the broad-market benchmark ending higher led by gains in financials
up 2.6%, and energy

and materials
both up 2.2%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index

advanced 1.6% to 13,752.

For the week, the Dow is off 0.5%, the S&P 500 is near the flat line up 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite boasts a 0.4% gain.

The 10-year Treasury note yield

rose 15.4 basis points, marking its largest daily rise since March 18, 2020.

April West Texas Intermediate crude futures CL.1 rose $7.19, or nearly 7%, to settle at $110.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Notably, the 10-year Treasury note yield rose by the most a day since March of 2020 as comments from Powell and relaxation of some trepidation about the fighting in Eastern Europe gave way to selling in government bonds.

Moves in markets came as Powell, appearing before the House Committee on Financial Services, said he would propose a quarter-percentage point rate increase at the central bank’s meeting in two weeks, which may have eased concerns on Wall Street that the central bank would raise rates by half a percentage point.

He also suggested the central bank wasn’t on autopilot, which implied that it may not move as aggressively as feared to stamp out inflation.

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