US Stocks End Higher Ahead Of Jackson Hole Speech

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2022-08-25 HKT 04:41

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  • Wall Street is awaiting a speech this Friday by the US central bank chief, Jerome, Powell at a policy conference in Wyoming. Photo: Shutterstock

    Wall Street is awaiting a speech this Friday by the US central bank chief, Jerome, Powell at a policy conference in Wyoming. Photo: Shutterstock

Wall Street equities broke a three-day skid, ending higher on Wednesday as traders looked through mixed data to buy shares.

But investors remain focused on a speech this Friday by the US central bank chief Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole policy conference in Wyoming, hoping -- but perhaps no longer expecting -- to hear hints of a coming respite in aggressive interest rate hikes.

With inflation still at a 40-year high, economists and Federal Reserve officials have stressed that the benchmark lending rate will continue to rise.

Oanda analyst Edward Moya said the "Fed still has a lot of tightening to do."

"Today's rebound is small and on light volume, which means most traders are playing the waiting game until Fed Chair Powell's Jackson Hole Symposium speech," he said.

"Powell's fight against inflation might send the US economy into a recession late next year, but for now he needs to stick to the hawkish script."

What data there was did not push traders one way or another: a further drop in mortgage applications last week, which fell to a 22-year low, as well as another decline in pending home sales, confirmed the housing market is slowing due to rising borrowing costs and high prices.

And July orders for big-ticket manufactured goods were flat, but some components showed continued strength in demand.

A key inflation report Friday ahead of Powell's speech, which is expected to show a sharp slowing of price increases in July, could provide more of an impetus, however.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent to finish the day at 32,969.23.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 4,140.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.4 percent to end at 12,431.53. (AFP)