A rosy jobs report and comments from Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell suggesting that the Fed will be patient on rate hikes have helped lift the markets in a big way. The Dow surged 680 points, or 3%, in early trading, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each were up more than 3%. In comments made in Atlanta, Powell said the economy seemed to be on a healthy track but that the Fed would be ready to adjust policy quickly if that changed, reports the Wall Street Journal. In other words, the Fed wouldn't necessarily continue its current path of interest rate hikes, depending on how things go. Powell also said he would not resign if asked to do so by President Trump, who has criticized the Fed for raising rates, reports the AP.
“With the muted inflation readings that we’ve seen coming in, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves,” said Powell. “We will be prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly and use all of our tools to support the economy should that be appropriate." As for the political pressure from the White House: “The Fed has a very strong culture around nonpolitical activity,” he said. Making moves based on economic factors, not politics, is “very much in the DNA of anyone who’s spent any time at the Fed.” (Read more stock market stories.)