The First Slice for Thursday, June 23, 2022

U.S. stock indexes closed lower in choppy trade Wednesday, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his commitment to combating inflation through higher interest rates, but said a recession couldn’t be ruled out.

President Joe Biden also called on a temporary gas-tax holiday and for ramped up U.S. refinery activity to help offset high energy prices that he blamed on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • The Dow fell -47.12 or -0.15%
  • The S&P 500 fell -4.90 or -0.13%
  • The Nasdaq shed -16.22 or -0.15%

While facing stinging losses in the year’s first half, investors weighed a renewed vow by Fed Chairman Powell on Wednesday to bring down inflation through additional interest rate hikes, while testifying on Capitol Hill.

Powell also said that a recession was “certainly a possibility,” but not the intended consequence of monetary policy moves.

While stocks were higher, money was flowing into traditional havens such as bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 14.9 basis points to 3.155%, the steepest daily decline since Nov. 21, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Stocks briefly rose to session highs after President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Congress to suspend the federal gasoline tax for three months, while also asking states to provide similar relief and for the U.S. to ramp up its refinery activity.

The federal government charges an 18-cent tax per gallon of gasoline and a 24-cent tax per gallon of diesel. A “gasoline tax holiday, while supporting consumers, would support demand, thereby prolong the period of tightness,” said Ole Hansen, head of the commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, in a note to clients.

U.S. crude oil prices dropped 3% to settle at $106.91 a barrel, a six-week low…….Full Loaf Hot Link[read more]

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