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US Markets Point Higher After Tough Inflation Talk From Fed
US Markets

On Wall Street, stocks are off to a strong start, and oil prices are easing back from recent highs that exacerbated investors' already high inflation fears.

On Tuesday, Wall Street was expected to open higher, one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed was willing to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate by a half-point multiple times if necessary to combat inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.4 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent. Stocks in Europe and Asia rose as well, while oil prices fell.

The Fed is intended to increase rates another several times this year, but it hasn't done so in a half-point increment since May 2000.

In midday trading in Europe, the CAC 40 in France gained 0.5 percent, the DAX in Germany gained 0.6 percent, and the FTSE 100 in the United Kingdom gained 0.4 percent.

The Russian war in Ukraine, as well as Western sanctions against Russia, are raising concerns about disruptions in energy supplies to Europe and rising prices, which could stymie efforts to recover economically from the pandemic.

The dollar rose to a six-year high against the Japanese yen in late afternoon currency trading, surpassing the 120 yen level to 120.78 yen, up from 119.47 yen.

US Markets

The dollar is rising against the yen due to a widening interest rate differential between the US and Japan, where the central company's key rate of interest is minus 0.1 percent. This is good for exporters, but it raises prices for Japanese imports of essentials like oil and gas.

The euro was trading at $1.1006, down from $1.1016 the day before.

Some Fed officials had suggested that the central bank should start raising rates by a half-point in March, before Russia's invasion of Ukraine added a new wave of economic uncertainty to the mix.

Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities, believes the Fed should be cautious given the rising risks of a recession.

Europe is likely to enter recession, and the poor will be disproportionately affected as the world continues to experience high energy and food prices. And raising interest rates will have no effect on the inflationary wave brought on by the war," he added

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