Movers & Shakers: July 11, 2019

By Wall StreetFOXBusiness

Fed's Powell: The economy can sustain much lower unemployment than we thought without troubling levels of inflation

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questions Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell about the relationship of unemployment rates and inflation.

Stocks poised to hit new records following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony in Congress. The three equity benchmarks were trading up in pre-market activity on Wall Street Thursday after Powell signaled the central bank was still moving towards an interest rate cut due to the uncertainty around trade tensions. On Wednesday, the Nasdaq surged to a record high, while the S&P 500 briefly crossed the 3,000 level for the first time.

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Powell highlights concern with Facebook's Libra and addresses Trump's reported threats to fire him. Powell told the House Financial Services Committee he would not vacate his post if Trump fired him. He also said a new digital currency from Facebook that will be run by a consortium of companies may be systemically important due to the billions of users the social media giant has. Powell is scheduled to testify in front of a Senate panel on Thursday followed by a question and answer session.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta addressed calls for his resignation over his role in a 2008 plea deal for alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta previously served as a U.S. attorney in Florida and said the deal negotiated with Epstein at the time was done under "the judgment of prosecutors with dozens of years of experience." President Trump previously reiterated his support for Acosta.

PG&E Corp. must respond to a report that the utility firm failed to upgrade high-voltage power lines that contributed to a California wildfire, the deadliest in state history. The firm was aware that 49 steel towers, which were on average 68 years old, needed replacing, according to the Wall Street Journal. The danger from the older towers was exacerbated during a 2013 drought in California.

Employment opportunities appear to be decreasing for middle-aged men. Employment rates for males ages 25 to 54 declined by nearly 100,000 jobs each month for the past three. Nonparticipation rates among prime-age men also rose to 11.4 percent, according to the Kansas City Federal Reserve. The U.S. added 224,000 jobs in June, higher than expected.

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