Dow soars over 900 points as investors cheer Fed’s rate hike

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The Dow jumped more than 900 points after staging a late rally on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced its widely expected interest-rate hike, the biggest rate increase since 2000.

Stocks initially see-sawed after the announcement. The indexes then steadied and rose more than 2.5% following Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by half a percentage point and said it would begin shrinking the central bank’s $9 trillion asset portfolio next month in an effort to further lower inflation.

The US central bank set its target federal funds rate to a range between 0.75% and 1% in a unanimous decision, with further rises in borrowing costs of perhaps similar magnitude likely to follow.

“It’s clear that they (the Fed) understand the need to contain the soaring prices,” said Greg Bassuk, chief executive at AXS Investments in Port Chester, New York.

“Even as the Fed gets more aggressive with rate hikes, we still need to grapple with the geopolitical tensions, the ongoing COVID issues as well as these wide-ranging corporate earnings results. So now withstanding the Fed move, we think we’ll still see some more volatility ahead.”

Investors watched Powell’s news conference for fresh clues on how far and how fast the central bank is prepared to go in an effort to bring down decades-high inflation.
REUTERS

Investors watched Powell’s news conference for fresh clues on how far and how fast the central bank is prepared to go in an effort to bring down decades-high inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 932.27 points, or 2.8%, to 34,061.06. The Nasdaq Composite gained 401.10 points, or 3.2%, to 12,964.86, while the S&P 500 gained 124.69 points, or 3%, to end at 4300.17 points.

Concerns about a hit to economic growth due to a hawkish Fed, mixed earnings from some big growth companies, the conflict in Ukraine and pandemic-related lockdowns in China have hammered Wall Street recently, with richly valued growth stocks bearing the brunt of the sell-off.

Two separate sets of data showed private employers hired the fewest workers in two years last month, while expansion in the services sector unexpectedly lost some momentum in April.