U.S. stocks wavered between gains late-morning Friday as Wall Street was parsing a much-anticipated speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a symposium of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.82% briefly flipped into positive territory after showing triple-digit losses and was most recently up 0.2% at 26,295, the S&P 500 index SPX, -1.93% was up 0.1% at 2,925, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -2.28% was 0.1% higher at 8,002.
Powell on Friday said the central bank was “carefully watching developments” in the economy and would “act as appropriate,” but stopped short of promising any specific interest-rate easing steps. Stock indexes were wavering solidly between gains and losses as the statements were being digested. Powell’s remarks come after the market was declining on the back of a report from China indicated that it was preparing to launch fresh tariffs against the U.S. on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 to coincide with some $300 billion in tariffs set to be leveled against China goods by the U.S.
“Powell’s Jackson Hole speech did not mention a mid-cycle adjustment and investors could take that as a hint that he is probably closer to an easing cycle than just seeing couple of rate cuts,” wrote Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, after Powell’s prepared remarks were released Friday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.
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