Powell Speaks, Market Jumps

FOMC cover image

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both closed at all-time record high levels today.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, it didn’t appear to be from the luck of the Irish — but instead, the comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and a statement released by the Federal Open Market Committee.

The FOMC finished its second of eight meetings scheduled for 2021 today. Upon conclusion, it released economic projections before Powell’s Press conference. The committee’s findings were generally positive and upbeat, noting that “indicators of economic activity and employment have turned up recently.”

The stock market, which spent the majority of the day trading in negative territory, surged higher after the report was released and throughout Powell’s press conference.

The Dow closed above 33,000 for the first time ever, gaining about 0.6%. The S&P 500 closed up about 0.3%, posting its own new record.

The Nasdaq Composite, which has experienced a volatile March and even fell into correction territory, finished up about 0.4% on the day. It remains about 4% off of its all-time, record-high close set in February.

Powell reiterated earlier comments that the Fed plans to continue to buy $120 billion worth of treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities per month.

The positive outlook comes with some inflation concerns. Powell noted that the Fed has tools to address those concerns if they become a problem.

According to FOMC projections, the current inflation rate remains below the Fed’s stated target of 2%.

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