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28 Sep 2021
2 min read

Wall Street Stocks Wobble as Traders Await Fed’s Powell Speech

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Key Takeaways

  • Stocks on Wall Street finished Monday mixed, Tuesday futures remained muted
  • The market awaits testimonies from Fed’s Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

Stocks Wobble to Start the Week

The US stock market struggled to advance on Monday and finished the day mixed while investors awaited key events today. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, and the Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen, are slated to speak before Congress today.

All three major indexes on Wall Street gave up earlier gains yesterday and turned mostly lower except for energy shares. While technology firms and other growth companies were among the decliners, economically sensitive stocks pushed higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 71.37 points, or 0.21%, to end the session at 34,869.37. The S&P500 lost 12.37 points, or 0.28%, to close at 4,443.11. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 77.73 points, or 0.52%, to settle at 14,969.97.

Energy shares and financial stocks were the leading performers on Monday. Shares of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley, all rose more than 2% apiece. Energy stocks received an even bigger boost, propelled by the surge in oil prices.

Energy Shares and Financials Climb

Crude oil, the international benchmark, advanced to levels above $80 a barrel. Analysts point to brightening prospects for travel, which would make energy companies more profitable due to the higher oil demand.

Optimism about the economic outlook, in general, was the main theme in investing on Monday. While September is coming to an end, traders and investors appear to favor stocks closely tied to the economic expansion.

The trend is on pace to continue on Tuesday. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were moderately up in pre-market trading. S&P500 and Nasdaq futures were showing mixed performance ahead of the opening bell in New York.

Fed’s Powell to Deliver Remarks on Inflation

Today, market participants will be watching the main event of the week, the hearing of Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen before the US Senate. Mr. Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, will try to calm investor fears about surging inflation. In his testimony, prepared in advance, the Fed chief is likely to repeat remarks made during previous conferences and speeches.

Mr. Powell has acknowledged inflation shows signs of being more persistent than anticipated. On that note, the Chair has vowed to consider tapering or reducing, the easy-money policies at the Fed’s next meeting, Nov. 2-3.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, on the other hand, is likely to address the government’s options to avoid a default due to hitting the debt limit at the end of July. The hearing today is likely to increase the volatility in the US dollar and the currency market in general, thus presenting opportunities for forex traders.

Elsewhere in the Financial Markets

In the meantime, European markets opened mixed on Tuesday. Major indexes across the old continent were largely searching for direction in the early hours of the session.

Cryptocurrencies remained pressured early Tuesday. Bitcoin slipped to a low near $42,000 per coin, down about 1.5% on the day.

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