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U.S. stocks are rising on hopes the Fed is headed for a pause.

By Liz Moyer

© Reuters. -- U.S. stocks were rising after the Federal Reserve suggested it was nearing the end of its interest rate hikes.

At 11:42 ET (15:42 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 417 points or 1.3%, while the S&P 500 was up 1.6% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 2.2%.

On Wednesday, the Fed raised rates by the expected quarter of a percentage point, and said in its policy statement that ongoing increases are no longer likely to be appropriate. Its forecast for the terminal rate ending at 5.1% suggests just one more rate hike this year.

The end of the tightening is being greeted with relief, though the Fed also said the recent turmoil in the banking sector could lead to a pullback in credit, and that could have economic effects, as well.

Thursday’s rebound in stocks comes after the Dow fell more than 500 points on Wednesday.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has a tightrope to walk, balancing the need to fight inflation with the need to maintain stability in the financial system. Rising rates are pressuring banks, especially regional lenders, after the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank earlier this month.

Futures markets are now starting to place bets on the Fed to pivot and cut rates, perhaps as early as June, while Powell said the Fed wasn’t forecasting a rate cut this year. For the next meeting in May, futures traders have split their bets on a pause and another quarter-point rate hike.

In economic data, initial jobless claims showed a still-strong labor market, falling to 191,000 last week compared with expectations for 197,000. And February new home sales rose 1.1% to an annual 640,000 versus estimates for 650,000.

Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) shares fell 12% after it said the Securities and Exchange Commission sent it a notice of a possible enforcement action.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) rose 6.8% after positive results from a test of its asthma drug Dupixent on lung disease.

Oil rose. Crude Oil WTI Futures were up 0.6% to $71.27 a barrel while Brent Oil Futures crude rose 0.6% to $77.11 a barrel. Gold Futures rose 2% to $1989.


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