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23 Feb 2021 | 22:21

US close: Mixed session following Powell testimony

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday as losses in tech shares dragged down the Nasdaq Composite. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.05% at 31,537.35 and the S&P 500 was 0.13% firmer at 3,881.37, while the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.50% weaker at 13,465.20.

The Dow closed 15.66 points lower on Thursday, narrowly extending modest gains recorded on Monday.

Rapidly rising Treasury yields were again in focus on Tuesday amid concerns that they could hurt high-growth companies reliant on easy borrowing - the same stocks that have so far thrived in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to around 1.35% on Monday after jumping 14 basis points last week to hit its highest level since February 2020.

However, today's primary focus was the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell telling the Senate Banking Committee that inflation and employment remained well below the central bank's targets, meaning easy monetary policy was likely to stay in place.

"The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals, and it is likely to take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved," said the Federal Reserve chief.

He also said the Fed was "committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy and to help ensure that the recovery from this difficult period will be as robust as possible".

On the macro front, home-price growth accelerated in December, with the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rising 10.4% in the twelve months ended 31 December, up from a 9.5% annual rate the prior month to the highest annual rate of growth since January 2014.

Elsewhere, February's Conference Board consumer confidence survey rose to a three-month high of 91.3 from a revised 88.9 reading in January.

Lastly, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for February came in at an unchanged reading of 14, shy of estimates for a print of 15.

Real estate firm CBRE posted an all-time high quarterly adjusted earnings per share and a 9% jump in adjusted underlying earnings, while Crocs reported a record annual revenue of $1.4bn.

Home Depot topped estimates on a 25% surge in quarterly sales, while Macy's said holiday sales had helped the retailer record its first profitable quarter in a year.
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