Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

The S&P 500 surged above 3,000 points for the first time, and US treasuries rose along with gold after US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell signaled an openness to rate cuts amid ongoing uncertainty in the economy, cementing market bets for easing at July’s Federal Reserve meeting.

The Dow Jones industrial average joined the S&P 500 at a record high after Powell said, in prepared remarks, that downside risks to the economy remain, even after Friday’s strong jobs report forced investors to recalibrate rate-cut expectations. The yield on 10-year treasuries fell to 2.05% after climbing above 2.10% for the first time in a month. The dollar weakened. Oil rose above $59 a barrel in New York.

“A rate cut in July is now all but certain,” said James McCann, senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The strength of last week’s jobs number did lead some to think that the Fed may pause for thought. It’s clear from this that they won’t.”

The remarks came ahead of two days of testimony in US Congress on the economic and policy outlook. With both equities and bonds sitting on outsize gains since the start of the year, it’s unclear what further impetus they can get, given that traders are already discounting a cycle of interest-rate cuts. Investors will also scour minutes from the Fed’s June meeting.

In Europe, strong manufacturing data from France and low demand at an auction of German bunds weighed on government debt. Equities rebounded after a three-day slide. The pound halted a drop to a two-year low as data showed the UK economy rebounded in May.

The trading session in Asia was mixed, with modest gains in Hong Kong and South Korea and slides in Japan and China.

Bloomberg