Stocks finished higher Wednesday as Wall Street welcomed new signals suggesting the Federal Reserve is ready to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade.
Technology stocks drove much of the gains, nudging the Nasdaq composite to an all-time high. The benchmark S&P 500 index briefly traded above 3,000 for the first time before pulling back to just below its most recent record high a week ago.
The market climbed early on after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut.
Powell’s remarks, which he delivered as part of his semi-annual monetary report to Congress, allayed investors’ concerns that an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report on Friday might give the Fed reason to stay put on interest rates.
The S&P 500 index rose 13.44 points, or 0.5%, to 2,993.07. The index, which set three record highs last week, is now less than 0.1% below its all-time high set last Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 76.71 points, or 0.3%, to 26,860.20.
The Nasdaq climbed 60.80 points, or 0.7%, to 8,202.53, a record. It’s previous record high was also set last Wednesday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rebounded from a brief slide, gaining 2.46 points, or 0.2%, to 1,565.05.