Stocks rise as Powell tests, bond yields slip, oil at $106: LIVE UPDATES

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Stocks inches higher

Symbol price change %change
WBA $41.31 +0.86 +2.13%
MRK $90.98 +1.84 +2.07%
CVX $147.82 -0.28 -0.19%
XOM $88.22 +0.38 +0.44%

US stocks notched early gains as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testsifies on Capitol Hill for a second day following his acknowledgment that a recession may be hard to avoid. The Dow Jones Industrial Average took the lead helped by Walgreens and Merck. In commodities, oil hovered at $106 per barrel ahead of a key White House meeting with top energy CEOs including Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Developing Story

FDA Watch Juul

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to ban Juul’s according to the Wall Street Journal. Altria owns about 35% of the vape maker.

Oil Check

US oil held at $106 per barrel.

Jobless claims bottom

Jobless claims ticked slightly higher by 2,000 to 229,000 while continuing claims held at 1.315 million indicating the number of Americans filing for unemployment remained steady.

Futures at a glance

US stock futures are higher on Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told a Senate committee the US central bank’s war on inflation could force policymakers to raise interest rates so high they drag the US economy into a recession.

Powell will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday.

Meanwhile, oil prices were lower , with West Texas Intermediate crude futures trading at around $106 a barrel while Brent crude futures traded at about $111.50 a barrel.

Stock futures cautious ahead of Fed Powell’s continued commitment

US equity futures traded cautiously higher Thursday morning a day after the Federal Reserve chairman said the US central bank wants to avoid causing a recession, but one is possible as it raises interest rates to cool surging inflation.

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Powell chapter two

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell returns to Capitol Hill to testify before the House Financial Services Committee as part of his regular, semi-annual update on monetary policy.

On Wednesday, Powell appeared before the Senate Banking Committee. Powell pledged that Fed officials will continue to raise interest rates until they see “compelling evidence” that inflation is starting to cool off from the current 40-year high.

Gas prices continue slide

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline slipped on Thursday morning to $4.94, according to AAA. The price on Wednesday was at $4,955. Gas has declined for six straight days. Diesel slipped as well to $5,808 up from $5,812.

Oil prices extended losses

Oil prices added to losses from the previous session on Thursday, dropping more than 2% as investors worried that aggressive US interest rate hikes could trigger a recession and dent fuel demand.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell to $105 a barrel. Brent crude futures dropped to $110 a barrel.

Both benchmarks tumbled around 3% on Wednesday to hit their lowest levels since mid-May.

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Bitcoin bounce

Bitcoin was back above $20,000 on Thursday morning, after falling below that level the previous day. Heading into Thursday, Bitcoin traded down in 14 of the past 16 days. The cryptocurrency was off more than 37% month-to-date and down more than 57% year-to-date.

Bitcoin is down more than 70% from its all-time high of $67802.30 set in November.

Ether was trading around $1,000. Dogecoin was at 6 cents.

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