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CNBC Daily Open: No surprises for Wall Street from Powell

·2 mins

Japan stocks retreated from record highs Thursday, with both the Nikkei 225 and broader Topix falling. China’s CSI 300 dropped and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped as investors digested better-than-expected trade data from the mainland. Overnight, Wall Street ended higher as the Dow finished up. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite added as investors looked ahead to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s second day of testimony on Capitol Hill.

China blamed the U.S. for bilateral tensions and reinforced Beijing’s backing for a peaceful end to the Israel-Hamas conflict. China’s Foreign Minister said America has been devising “new ways to suppress China,” arguing that U.S. accusations had reached an “unbelievable degree.”

India’s once valuable startups Byju and Paytm are entangled in a financial and regulatory crisis, which has dealt a severe blow to the country’s booming tech sector. Funding for Indian startups dropped to $7 billion in 2023, from a record $41.6 billion in 2021, data showed amid a larger global venture funding pullback.

Powell repeated that the central bank isn’t ready to start lowering interest rates, in prepared remarks for his first day of testimony on Capitol Hill. His remarks broke no new ground on monetary policy, but highlighted officials were still concerned about not losing the progress made against inflation.

Tapping India’s promising market isn’t as straightforward for foreign investors as buying shares listed on the Indian stock exchanges. Portfolio managers highlight one of the simplest routes is through ETFs that specifically track indexes comprised of Indian stocks.

No news is, perhaps, good news as far as Wall Street is concerned.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell stuck closely to script in the first of two Capitol Hill appearances this week.

In prepared remarks, he told lawmakers the Fed expects to cut rates this year in order to avoid unnecessarily constraining growth. But he also noted progress toward hitting the Fed’s 2% inflation goal wasn’t “assured.”

Investors are keeping a close watch on the Fed chief’s comments to get more clarity on the central bank’s timing for rate cuts.