Stocks fluctuated Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. labor market was a “long way” from a recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 34 points, or 0.11%, to 31,410, the S&P 500 was down 0.08% and the Nasdaq fell 0.12% as technology giants such as Amazon , Apple and Microsoft declined.
The three stock market indexes set intraday record highs earlier in Wednesday’s session.
Powell said Wednesday it would take more than just “supportive monetary policy” to strengthen the labor market.
“We are still very far from a strong labor market whose benefits are broadly shared,” Powell said Wednesday in a speech before the Economic Club of New York. “Achieving and sustaining maximum employment will require more than supportive monetary policy.”
“Fully realizing the benefits of a strong labor market will take continued support from both near-term policy and longer-run investments so that all those seeking jobs have the skills and opportunities that will enable them to contribute to, and share in, the benefits of prosperity,” Powell said.
Powell’s speech comes as President Joe Biden’s and Democrats push a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that likely will be passed without support from lawmakers on the Republican side.
More stimulus from Congress and progress on vaccination distribution has many investors worried that inflation will increase in the months ahead.
The consumer price index rose 0.3% in January, matching economists’ forecasts. The rate of inflation over the past year was unchanged at 1.4%. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also rose 1.4%.
Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital Management and portfolio manager of the Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF , said that while the data wasn’t showing an increase in inflation now, it’s “on its way thanks to fiscal and monetary stimulus and pent-up consumer demand that should intensify as the economy reopens.”
The yield on the 10-year Treasury traded at 1.134% after the CPI reading.
Stocks closed mixed Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending six-day winning streaks but the Nasdaq finishing with another record high.
General Motors was falling more than 2% on Wednesday after the automaker posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings amid a strong rebound in demand for its cars and trucks, though warned a global semiconductor chip shortage could cut into 2021 earnings.
Twitter jumped almost 9% Wednesday after reporting record revenue in the fourth quarter but warning that user growth in 2021 could slow.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, meanwhile, will speak at 2 p.m. ET on the “State of the U.S. Labor Market” in a webinar hosted by the Economic Club of New York.
This article was originally published by TheStreet.