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A full recap of the Fed's rate hike and big market rally

The Federal Reserve raised rates by 50 basis points, as was widely expected. But it was Chairman Jerome Powell's comments that sparked a sharp rally in stocks. Powell said that the Fed wasn't considering raising rates by 75 basis points. The major U.S. stock benchmarks surged to their highs of the day on those remarks.

Gary Cohn says Powell gave the market the policy transparency it wanted

Former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn told CNBC he thinks Fed Chair Jerome Powell "drove it right down the middle of the road" during his news conference, perfectly meeting the market's expectations as evidenced by the relief rally in stocks. 

In particular, Cohn said the market appreciated Powell's clear communication around the Fed's approach to quantitative tightening. "The market has been trained to have transparency, and we got transparency," said Cohn, who also led the National Economic Council under former President Donald Trump.

He added that he believes Powell laid the roadmap for two more 50 basis point interest rate hikes at upcoming meetings.

Kevin Stankiewicz

I think Powell's laid out the road map for the next two rate hikes being 50 basis points, says Gary Cohn
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I think Powell's laid out the road map for the next two rate hikes being 50 basis points, says Gary Cohn

Stocks rally broadly after Powell comments, financials and tech jump

U.S. stocks rallied across the board Wednesday after Fed Chair Powell in the press conference ruled out larger rate hikes and emphasized the possibility of a soft landing — tamping down inflation without inducing a recession.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors were positive on the day in the last hour of trading.

Stocks leveraged to an improving economy were among the biggest winners. Energy was the top-performing sector. Financial names were also a leading group, with names like Bank of America and Wells Fargo jumping roughly 4%.

Technology stocks, which have been under pressure, also climbed. Communication services and information tech were among the top S&P 500 sectors. The moves came as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield dipped. Apple rose more than 3%, and Meta Platforms gained roughly 5%.

—Hannah Miao

Market is applauding Powell's comments, LPL's Krosby says

The major averages were up sharply heading into the close, with the Dow up 900 points.

"The market is applauding Chairman Powell's comments that the economy remains strong thanks to solid corporate balance sheets and still cash-rich consumers,: said Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist at LPL Financial. "Moreover, he suggested that perhaps the worst of the sharp move in inflationary pressures may be poised to ease."

"Still, Powell underscored that while the FOMC remains data dependent for each meeting, the market can expect 50 basis point hikes at the next two meetings. He made it clear that corralling inflationary pressures is crucial," Krosby added.

Fred Imbert

Powell news conference wraps up

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has concluded an eventful news conference, which saw the major U.S. stock benchmarks rally on remarks that the Fed would not raise rates by 75 basis points.

Fred Imbert

Federal Reserve will restore stable pricing as 'quickly and effectively' as it can, Powell says

Chairman Jerome Powell believes the Federal Reserve has a "good chance" of restoring stable prices without causing a strong increase in unemployment.

"We need to do everything we can to restore stable prices as qu