By CCN: The Dow and broader U.S. stock market extended their relief rally on Wednesday, as traders continued to raise bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates following its July policy meeting.
Markets are now being driven almost entirely by hope even as the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission continue to broaden their antitrust probes of Silicon Valley’s largest technology companies.
Dow Extends Relief Rally; S&P 500, Nasdaq Follow
All of Wall Street’s major indexes headed for big gains on Wednesday, extending a strong pre-market session for Dow futures.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 176.94 points, or 0.7% to 25,509.12. The blue-chip index is coming off its second-best day of 2019 where it rallied more than 500 points.
The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 0.7% to 2,822.00. Nine of 11 primary sectors advanced, led by utilities.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rallied 0.4% to 7,560.66.
Fed Fund Futures Show Imminent Rate Cuts on the Horizon
The likelihood that the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates in July has swelled to almost 70%, according to
CME Group‘s closely-watched Fed Fund futures prices.
Futures traders are not only confident that the path of interest rates is lower, but they have also priced in a whole extra cut over the past two days, according to BNN Bloomberg. Markets have been long skeptical about the central bank’s policy normalization timeline, but they completely threw it out the window on Tuesday after Chairman Jerome Powell essentially laid the foundation for future cuts.
Central bankers hiked rates aggressively last year as Donald Trump’s presidency kick-started a strong economic recovery and fueled the extension of the longest bull market in Wall Street’s history. A brutal bear-market reversal in the fourth quarter, fueled in part by U.S.-China trade tensions, forced the Fed in January to backtrack on its normalization timeline. Since then, officials have become more dovish in their assessment of interest rates.
In economic data, U.S. private-sector job gains slowed to a crawl in May, painting a bearish picture on the economic recovery.
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