Nasdaq hits record as Powell reiterates inflation is transitory

Microsoft Corp. flirts with $2T market cap

The Nasdaq Composite marched to record highs Tuesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his belief that the recent surge in inflation was temporary. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 111.79 points, or 0.79%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 climbed 0.2% and 0.51%, respectively. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 35064.25 +271.58 +0.78%
SP500 S&P 500 4429.1 +26.44 +0.60%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14895.117079 +114.58 +0.78%

Powell, speaking before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, said he was confident that inflation was "transitory," but that it was difficult to know when it would cool.

The testimony comes a day after the major averages posted their biggest gains in at least a month, buoyed by comments from New York Fed President John Williams, who said the U.S. economy isn’t strong enough for the central bank to shift policy. 

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The benchmark 10-year yield declined 1 basis point to 1.47% and remained near its lowest level since the beginning of March. 

In stocks, mega-cap technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Amazon Inc., were firm as bond yields remained in check. 

Microsoft Corp. topped a $2 trillion market capitalization for the first time. Shares needed to close above $265.55 apiece to hold the level. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE, INC. 147.06 +0.11 +0.07%
AMZN AMAZON.COM, INC. 3,375.99 +21.27 +0.63%
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 289.52 +3.01 +1.05%

Elsewhere, GameStop Corp. shares surged after the company said it raised $1.13 billion through the sale of 5 million shares. The company plans to use the proceeds for general purposes and to invest in growth initiatives.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GME GAMESTOP CORP. 153.44 +6.64 +4.52%

Crypto-linked companies, like Riot Blockchain Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc., were reversed early losses as bitcoin slumped below $30,000 before turning higher. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MSTR MICROSTRATEGY, INC. 715.62 +44.69 +6.66%
RIOT RIOT BLOCKCHAIN INC 33.59 +0.88 +2.69%

In earnings, Plug Power Inc. reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss as revenue topped estimates. The company said it expects hydrogen prices to decline meaningfully during the second half of the year. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PLUG PLUG POWER, INC. 26.00 +0.11 +0.42%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil lost 60 cents to $73.06 a barrel and gold declined $5.50 to $1,776.30 an ounce. 

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Overseas trading was choppy. 

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.39%, while France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX 30 ticked up 0.14% and 0.21%, respectively. 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 outperformed in Asia, climbing 3.12%, as China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.8% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slid 0.63%.