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US stocks rise as investors digest comments from central bankers and assess outlook for the economy

Omicron has brought volatility to Wall Street.

John Moore/Getty Images

  • US stocks climbed on Wednesday as investors digested comments from a meeting of central bankers. 
  • Morgan Stanley warned the Federal Reserve’s accelerated rate hikes have doubled the odds of a recession.
  • First-quarter GDP readings were revised lower to show a 1.6% contraction.

US stocks edged higher on Wednesday as markets took in comments from a meeting of central bankers and assessed the potential for the economy to avoid a recession. 

Investors were looking to comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was speaking at the European Central Bank forum as warnings pile up about the state of the economy and the potential for a recession.

According to reports, the US central bank chief commented that he was hopeful the economy could be steered towards a soft landing, though he admitted it would be challenging. 

The Commerce Department revised its reading on first-quarter GDP lower to show a 1.6% contraction, down from an initial print for a 1.5% drop.

Here’s where US indexes stood as the market opened at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday: 

  •  S&P 500: 3,825.34, up 0.1%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 31,033.47, up 0.28% (86.48 points)
  • Nasdaq Composite: 11,172.08, down 0.13%

Top economist Mohamed El-Erian warned investors are right to be worried about a US recession as consumer and business confidence falls, while the risk of the Federal Reserve making a policy mistake also rises.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s investment chief predicted the S&P 500 will plunge another 10% before bottoming out, saying the Fed’s accelerated rate hikes have doubled the odds of a recession.

Meanwhile, the Fed won’t worry about stocks falling until panic floods the markets, as it’s focused on controlling inflation, Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd said. 

Oil prices rose, with West Texas Intermediate crude up 1.42% to $113.35 per barrel and Brent crude, the international benchmark, up 1.31% to $119.53. 

Gold added 0.66% to $1.833.30 per ounce. The 10-year yield dropped 4.7 basis points to 3.16%. 

Bitcoin was down 1.32% to $19,993.

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