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US markets end higher after Fed chief signals rate cut ahead

The US markets ended higher on Wednesday on account of optimism about a near-term interest rate cut. Federal Reserve Jerome Powell is prepared to tell lawmakers that crosscurrents have continued to weigh on the US economic outlook since the central bank’s June meeting. Powell’s prepared remarks before the House Financial Services Committee note crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have been weighing on economic activity and the outlook. The Fed chief points out that increased uncertainties about the economic outlook and muted inflation pressures led the central bank to pledge to act as appropriate to sustain the expansion at its June meeting. Powell notes that many meeting participants saw that the case for a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy had already strengthened.

A report released by the Commerce Department showed wholesale inventories in the US increased in line with Street estimates in the month of May. The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories rose by 0.4 percent in May after climbing by 0.8 percent in April. The continued rise in inventories matched expectations. Inventories of durable goods edged up by 0.3 percent in May, as sharp increases in inventories of automotive products and professional equipment were partly offset by steep drops in inventories of lumber, metals and electrical equipment. The report said inventories of non-durable goods also climbed by 0.5 percent, with notable growth in inventories of farm products and miscellaneous non-durable goods offsetting a slump in inventories of petroleum products. The Commerce Department also said wholesale sales inched up by 0.1 percent in May after falling by 0.4 percent in April.

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 76.71 points or 0.29 percent to 26860.20. Nasdaq surged 60.80 points or 0.75 percent to 8202.53 and S&P 500 was up by 13.44 points or 0.45 percent to 2993.07.

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