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S&P 500 hits 3,000 as Powell's comment lifts rate cut hopes

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(Reuters) - The benchmark S&P 500 breached the 3,000 points mark for the first time on Wednesday, as hopes of an interest rate cut later this month were lifted by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell’s comment that the central bank would “act as appropriate” to sustain record U.S. growth.

In prepared remarks ahead of his two-day testimony to Congress, Powell said overall growth has also “moderated,” while “there is a risk that weak inflation will be even more persistent than we currently anticipate”.

“Powell’s really making the case that an insurance rate cut is important so July is looking much more likely despite the fact we had a pretty good jobs report,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer, Independent Advisor Alliance, Charlotte, North Carolina.

“He’s coming across as very dovish. A lot of his quotes are much more on the easing side.”

Wall Street’s three main indexes had retreated from last week’s record closing highs after a strong June jobs report on Friday tempered expectations of a sharp rate cut this month.

At 9:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 194.36 points, or 0.73%, at 26,977.85, the S&P 500 was up 21.95 points, or 0.74%, at 3,001.58 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 84.68 points, or 1.04%, at 8,226.40.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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