Investing.com – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said monetary policy is “in a good place,” and investors agreed Wednesday, pushing stocks higher and the S&P 500 to new intraday and closing highs.
The S&P 500 set a new intraday high of 3,050.10 and finished up 0.33% at just under 3,047, its second closing high in three days.
The market moved up during Powell’s news conference after the Fed decided to cut interest rates for the third time in three meetings. But the Fed wants to wait before making another move. The federal funds rate was cut to 1.5% to 1.75% from 1.75% to 2% in September.
After the close, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares were up 1.8% after hours after reporting $3.03 a share in fiscal-fourth quarter earnings, ahead of expectations of $2.83 a share. It also offered decent but typically conservative guidance for the first quarter, its most important quarter of the year. Shares had been flat at the close.
At the same time, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) announced it will no longer accept political advertising. Shares were lower after hours. The move was in contrast to contrast to Facebook, which is taking a hands-off approach to political advertising.
In his news conference remarks, Powell said the domestic economy is growing steadily, powered by strong job growth and rising consumer spending. The weak aspects of the economy were slipping business investment spending and falling exports, exacerbated by the ongoing U.S.-China trade fight.
He and his Fed colleagues don’t see the economic prospects changing much in the foreseeable future, although he promised the Fed would act to support the economy in a crisis.
At the same time, he pronounced himself unworried the jobs market could get too hot. Unemployment is at multi-year lows, but he said, “We’re not thinking about raising rates right now.”
Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor tool, which offers a view on how investors look at the situation, doesn’t see a rate move before spring at the earliest.
Utilities, healthcare, real estate and technology shares led the market. The weakest S&P 500 sector was energy, with West Texas Intermediate crude down 48 cents to $55.06 a barrel. Brent crude fell 98 cents to $60.61.
General Electric (NYSE:GE), mobile navigation company Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN), managed care company Centene (NYSE:CNC) and fiber-laser-maker IPG Photonics (NASDAQ:IPGP) were the top S&P 500 performers on the day.