The S&P 500 crossed the 3,000 threshold for the first time ever Wednesday, as expectations for a July rate cut rise, reports CNBC. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that "many" Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for looser interest-rate policies. Delivering the Fed's semi-annual monetary report to Congress, Powell sent the strongest signal yet that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade, possibly as soon as the July meeting. Powell said that since Fed officials met last month, "uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the US economic outlook." Meanwhile, inflation has fallen farther from the Fed's target.
Many investors have put the odds of a rate cut this month at 100%, reports the AP. The Fed's benchmark rate currently stands in a range of 2.25% to 2.5% after the central bank boosted rates four times last year. The Fed last cut rates in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Powell's statement kicked off two days of testimony, first before the House Financial Services Committee and then Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee. In his testimony, Powell repeated a pledge the Fed made in its June policy statement that officials would "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion." However, he added that "many" Fed officials saw that the case for a looser monetary policy "had strengthened." (Read more interest rate stories.)