Fed Chief's Comments Keep Losses in Check

Powell suggests rate hikes are working, steadying the markets' debt-ceiling worries
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2023 3:13 PM CDT
Fed Chief's Comments Keep Losses in Check
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Wednesday, May 3, 2023.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The stock market had a seesaw day on Friday, with one development sending it downward and a second one putting the brakes on that freefall. In the end, the major indexes finished with modest losses:

  • The Dow fell 109 points, or 0.2%, to 33,426.
  • The S&P 500 slipped 6 points, or 0.1%, to 4,191.
  • The Nasdaq fell 30 points, or 0.2%, to 12,657.
  • All three indexes were up for the week, with the S&P rising about 1.7%, the Dow less than 1%, and the Nasdaq about 3%.

The markets had been in positive territory before news broke that negotiators in DC had paused their negotiations on the debt ceiling, notes the AP. The news immediately sent the markets into negative territory, but comments from Fed chief Jerome Powell steadied things, per CNBC. Powell suggested that rate hikes already in place appeared to be keeping inflation in check, raising hopes among investors that the central bank is done with aggressive hikes.

“Until very recently, it has been clear that further policy firming would be required. As we’ve gotten higher, the risks of doing too much versus doing too little are becoming more balanced,” Powell said at a Fed conference, per the Wall Street Journal. Foot Locker was among the biggest losers of the day, falling 26% after it lowered its financial forecast because of slumping sales. On the winning side was DXC Technology, which rose nearly 5% on the strength of a $1 billion stock buyback plan. (More stock market stories.)

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