US stocks end Wednesday’s session with mixed performance


(MENAFN) On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed with a mixed performance as the market grappled with a challenging start to the second quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a decline of 43.10 points, or 0.11 percent, closing at 39,127.14. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 managed to gain 5.68 points, or 0.11 percent, ending the session at 5,211.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index saw an increase of 37.01 points, or 0.23 percent, reaching 16,277.46.

Among the primary S&P 500 sectors, seven ended the day in positive territory. Communication services and energy were the top performers, rising by 0.71 percent and 0.66 percent, respectively. Conversely, consumer staples and utilities emerged as the biggest losers, declining by 1.10 percent and 0.42 percent, respectively.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell highlighted on Wednesday the need for policymakers to take their time in assessing the present state of inflation. "On inflation, it is too soon to say whether the recent readings represent more than just a bump. We do not expect that it will be appropriate to lower our policy rate until we have greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably down toward 2 percent," he declared.

"Given the strength of the economy and progress on inflation so far, we have time to let the incoming data guide our decisions on policy," stated Powell.

Powell's remarks come in the wake of the Federal Open Market Committee's decision two weeks ago to maintain the status quo on benchmark short-term borrowing rates. The committee's statement following the March 20 meeting underscored the necessity of "greater confidence" before considering any adjustments to interest rates.

On Wednesday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic expressed his expectation for just one rate cut, citing the rise in prices of certain significant items. Similarly, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly mentioned that three cuts could be a "reasonable baseline," although she emphasized the uncertainty surrounding this forecast. Additionally, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester suggested that cuts are likely later in the year, but she cautioned that long-term rates might ultimately be higher than initially anticipated.

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