US stocks trade mixed as Powell says economy is making progress

Jerome Powell
Jerome Powell Pool/ Getty Images
  • US stocks closed mixed on Wednesday after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy is making progress towards it tapering standards.
  • Despite the economic progress, Powell said the Fed is not yet ready to begin tapering its monthly bond purchases.
  • Investors were also digesting earnings results from mega-cap tech companies like Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft.
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US stocks were mixed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 rising following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell said the economy is beginning to make progress towards it standards that would trigger the Fed to begin tapering its monthly bond purchases, but that the economy is not yet fully there. The Fed will continue its monthly bond purchases of $US120 ($AU163) billion.

Investors were also digesting strong earnings results from mega-cap tech companies like Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft.

All three tech giants easily surpassed analyst’s revenue and EPS estimates, helping boost shares of Microsoft and Alphabet in trades on Wednesday. Apple traded slightly lower as investors questioned if Apple’s strong growth rates were sustainable.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

The strong moves in US tech companies are in stark comparison to Chinese tech stocks, which continue to sell off as increased regulation from Beijing spreads to various industries. Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest continued to sell off their stakes in Chinese tech companies on Tuesday.

Robinhood’s expected IPO later this week will not be bought by some large asset managers, as they are reportedly going to sit out the offering in fear of retail-driven volatility. The retail brokerage app is now testing a new feature that will let users invest their spare change into select stocks.

Crypto-exchange Binance said it will step up its compliance efforts, including data-sharing with regulators and implementing a tax-tracking tool. The company has come under fire from a number of jurisdictions for its lack of compliance safeguards.

Crypto bull Mike Novogratz criticized Senator Elizabeth Warren’s anti-crypto stance on Tuesday, saying that DeFi is far more transparent than banks. Warren had sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling for tougher rules on cryptocurrencies.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude was up as much as 0.66%, to $US72.12 ($AU98) per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped as much as 0.54%, to $US74.88 ($AU102) per barrel.

Gold was up 0.34%, to $US1,805.90 ($AU2,449) per ounce.