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  • US stocks climbed Wednesday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record high.

  • Traders are waiting on the June inflation report, which will be a key input for Fed policy.

  • Investors are anticipating two rate cuts from the central bank by year-end, per the CME FedWatch tool.

US stocks rose on Wednesday as traders waited for upcoming inflation data and took in Powell’s testimony before Congress.

Major indexes ticked higher, with the S&P 500 surpassing 5,600 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 430 points, while the Nasdaq was up more than 1%.

Traders are bracing for the June inflation report, which will be published Thursday morning. The data will be a key input for central bankers when deciding the path of monetary policy through the rest of the year. Economists are expecting consumer prices to have climbed 3.1% year-per-year, compared to May’s 3.3% yearly increase.

A continued downtrend in inflation could give the Fed more confidence that prices are on track to fall back to 2%, Powell said in his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

“In light of the progress made both in lowering inflation and cooling the labor market over the past two years, elevated inflation is not the only risk we face. Reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment,” Powell added in his statement.

Still, the outlook for Fed rate cuts was little changed. Investors are pricing in two rate cuts by the end of the year, according to the CME FedWatch tool, though bets that the Fed could cut rates three times by year-end rose slightly.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. closing bell on Wednesday:

Here’s what else happened today:

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.08% to $82.30 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, ticked higher 0.25% to $85.29 a barrel.

  • Gold edged higher 0.29% to $2,370 per ounce.

  • The 10-year Treasury yield dipped one basis point to 4.279%.

  • Bitcoin slipped 0.55% to $57,416.

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