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US stocks trade higher after Powell testimony

New York, Feb 12 (IANS) US stocks traded higher on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before the Congress.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 37.72 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 29,314.54. The S&P 500 added 16.46 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 3,368.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 73.48 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 9,701.87, Xinhua reported.

In a prepared speech, Powell said the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) believes that the current stance of monetary policy will support continued economic growth, a strong labor market, and inflation returning to the committee’s symmetric 2 per cent objective.

“Over the second half of last year, economic activity increased at a moderate pace and the labor market strengthened further, as the economy appeared resilient to the global headwinds that had intensified last summer,” he said.

The Fed lowered interest rates three times in 2019, cutting the target range of the federal funds rate by 75 basis points to 1.5-1.75 per cent.

Powell added that the central bank is closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus.

On the economic front, the number of job openings fell to 6.4 million on the last business day of December, and the job openings rate decreased to 4 per cent, the US Labor Department said on Tuesday.

The department added that over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.9 million and 5.7 million, respectively.

–IANS

pgh/

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