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wrote a post03/03 10:56

Wall Street ends sharply higher, Powell assuages rate worries

- Nordstrom jumps on upbeat 2022 forecast
- Powell says appropriate to hike rates by 25 bps in March
- Indexes end: Dow +1.79%, S&P 500 +1.86%, Nasdaq +1.62% (Updates following end of session with price moves)

Wall Street ended sharply higher on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled the central bank would likely raise interest rates less than some investors had feared.

Powell's comments, in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, helped calm investors after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent markets into a tailspin.

Powell said he is inclined to support a 25 basis point rate hike in March, quelling some concerns about the potential for a more aggressive rate hike.

All the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes advanced, with financials jumping 2.6% after falling sharply so far this week. The banks index rebounded 3% after hitting its lowest level since September 2021 in the previous session.

Energy shares resumed their march higher, with the S&P 500 energy index rallying 2.2% as Brent crude jumped to near eight-year highs after Western sanctions disrupted transport of commodities exported by Russia. $Camber Energy(CEI.US)$$W&T Offshore(WTI.US)$

Russia's week-old invasion has yet to achieve its aim of overthrowing Ukraine's government. Ukrainians said they were battling on in the port of Kherson, the first sizeable city Russia claimed to have seized, while air strikes and bombardment caused further devastation in other cities.

$Apple(AAPL.US)$ ended 2.1% higher after announcing a product launch for March 8, when it is expected to promote a low-cost version of its popular iPhone with 5G.

$Nordstrom(JWN.US)$ surged 38% after the department store chain forecast upbeat full-year revenue and profit.

$Dow Jones Industrial Average(.DJI.US)$ rose 1.79% to end at 33,891.35 points, while $S&P 500 index(.SPX.US)$ gained 1.86% to 4,386.54.

$Nasdaq Composite Index(.IXIC.US)$ climbed 1.62% to 13,752.02.

Reflecting the breadth of Wednesday's rally, the S&P 500 value index climbed 1.9% and the growth index added 1.7%.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index jumped 3.4%, lifted by an 8.2% jump in $Micron Technology(MU.US)$.

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