S&P 500 poised for new record as Powell back in spotlight

US stocks rose on Thursday, staying upbeat ahead of a second day of closely tracked testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Techs took the lead again with more than 1% gain for the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) futures, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) added 0.9% touching record highs during the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) gained 0.5%, after all three gauges ended the previous session in the green.

Stocks rose as the market assessed Powell’s first day of questioning by lawmakers on the economy and monetary policy, which brought no bad news or surprises. The Fed chief stuck to repeating policymakers’ message that they’re in no hurry to ease policy, though rate cuts are likely to come this year.

On Thursday morning the Fed Chair reiterated the central bank’s intentions, provided inflation data comes in as expected. Investors have turned to the Fed Chair’s testimony for more clarity and further clues on rate-cut timing.

Initial jobless claims released on Thursday came in unchanged at 217,000 for the week ending March 2. Continuing claims registered just above 1.9 million, about 8,000 higher from its prior print.

Updates on consumer credit due later will also feed into their calculations ahead of the crucial monthly jobs report on Friday.

Meanwhile, gold (GC=F) rose for the fifth day, hitting a fresh high above $2,160 as the prospect of a rate cut gave fresh impetus to the record-setting rally.

Among corporates, shares of Victoria’s Secret (VSCO) plunged over 26% after the lingerie maker’s sales guidance fell short of expectations.

Live7 updates

  • Gold extends rally as Powell reiterates rate cuts this year

    Gold (GC=F) extended its rally hovering near its all time high as Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated policymaker’s intention to cut rates this year, provided inflation data comes in as expected.

    The precious metal rose for the fifth day, touching a record past $2,170 per ounce before pairing gains. Futures were trading just around $1,162 by 11:00 AM Eastern.

    The precious metal tends to rise when interest rates head south and the US dollar eases. On Thursday morning Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated to lawmakers the central bank’s intention to lower rates later this year, provided inflation data comes in as expected.

    The greenback edged lower on Thursday, supporting a higher price for the commodity invoiced in US dollars.

  • Nvidia stock touches new record, surpasses $900 level

    Nvidia (NVDA) stock gained more than 2% on Thursday, touching new all-time highs. Shares of the AI darling surpassed the $900 level to hit a peak of $909.92 each during the morning session.

    Nvidia is up 88% year-to-date. The semiconductor giant has been the best performer among the “Magnificent 7” stocks this year.

    Social media giant Meta (META) also hit new highs on Thursday. The stock is up 46% year-to-date.

  • Stocks open higher ahead of Fed Chair’s second day of testimony

    The major averages gained on Thursday ahead of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s second day of testimony before congress.

    The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) rose 0.7%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) gained 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) also ticked up 0.5%.

    The rise comes a day after Jerome Powell was questioned by lawmakers on the economy and monetary policy. Powell reiterated that policymakers are in no rush to ease policy, but rate cuts are likely to come this year. Friday’s jobs report will provide investors with clues on the timeline for when rate cut could come.

    Meanwhile bitcoin (BTC-USD) hovered above $67,000 on Thursday after hitting fresh highs earlier this week.

  • NYCB lost 7% of deposits in one month, highlighting challenges of new rescue

    New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) lost 7% of its deposits over the span of a month, underscoring the challenges facing a new investor group led by Steve Mnuchin as it outlined its turnaround strategy Thursday.

    Yahoo Finance’s David Hollerith reports the bank’s disclosure in an investor presentation shows total deposits had dropped to $77.2 billion as of March 5, compared with $83 billion that it had on Feb. 5.

    Roughly 80% of its deposits are currently backstopped by insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, while 20% are uninsured. It lost a $7.8 billion in uninsured deposits over the last month.

    The disclosure came one day after NYCB made a dramatic attempt to regain investor confidence by announcing a new CEO and a $1 billion infusion from a group led by Mnuchin, a former US Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs partner.

    NYCB shares were relatively flat in pre-market on Thursday after popping more than 7% in the prior session.

    Read more here.

  • In the penalty box for a long time: Victoria’s Secret

    The Amazon (AMZN) bra-buying trade.

    Victoria’s Secret (VSCO) truly had a disastrous earnings day last night, not unlike what happened at fellow mall…

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