Gains in technology shares and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway drove gains on Wall Street on Monday, with investors also looking for more clues on interest rate hikes from new Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s testimony this week.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 26, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
Powell will face questions from both houses of the U.S. Congress in a semi-annual testimony starting on Tuesday, his first major set piece since he took over from Janet Yellen earlier this month.
His testimony comes at a time when investors have been anxious about the pace of rate hikes, which have weighed on equity markets globally.
Investors are hoping that Powell will keep the U.S. central bank on a steady course of monetary tightening.
“There’s some talk of him (Powell) being a little more open to tolerating inflation running above the 2 percent target. The focus will be to see if he is indeed open to that and the rationale behind it,” said Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management.
The Fed said on Friday it expected economic growth to remain steady and saw no serious risks on the horizon that might pause its planned pace of rate hikes.
The week is heavy on data, with a report on personal consumption expenditure, the Fed’s favorite gauge of inflation, expected on Thursday.
At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.82 percent to 25,518.53. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.65 percent to 2,7565.18 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 0.73 percent at 7,390.81.
The indexes have posted gains in the past two weeks.
All 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.81 percent gain in the technology index .SPLRCT.
DJI DOW JONES INDEXES
Apple (AAPL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) were up between 0.99 percent and 1.2 percent.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) rose 1.8 percent after Warren Buffett said his conglomerate, which is sitting on $116 billion of cash, is “more inclined” to repurchase stock than pay dividends as a means to use excess cash.
Qualcomm (QCOM.O) shares rose 1.6 percent after the chipmaker urged Broadcom (AVGO.O) to enter into price negotiations on its $117 billion offer for the company. Broadcom was down about 0.7 percent.
GE (GE.N) dipped more than 2 percent after the industrial conglomerate nominated three new candidates to its board.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield eased to 2.8405 percent US10YT=RR, continuing a slip from the four-year high hit last week, while the CBOE Volatility index .VIX, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, was last at 16.65.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,946 to 663. On the Nasdaq, 1,725 issues rose and 743 fell.