Stocks gave up an afternoon gain and ended slightly lower on Wall Street Wednesday. Energy companies helped pull the market lower after crude oil prices sank. Investors closely watched testimony to Congress from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. He reaffirmed the central bank’s determination to raise interest rates and slow inflation, the AP reports. The S&P 500 fell 4.90 points, or 0.1%, to 3,759.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.12 points, or 0.2%, to 30,483.13. The Nasdaq fell 16.22 points, or 0.1%, to 11,053.08
Health care and real estate stocks made solid gains. Eli Lilly rose 3.1% and American Tower rose 2.1%. Those gains were kept in check by a pullback in energy, technology and other sectors. The choppy trading follows a solid rally on Tuesday in what has been a turbulent period for the broader market, with daily and sometimes hourly swings from sharp gains to losses. The benchmark S&P 500 is currently in a bear market, which means it has dropped more than 20% from its most recent high, which was in January. It has also fallen in 10 of the last 11 weeks, but is holding on to gains so far for this week.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell underscored the Fed’s determination to raise interest rates high enough to slow inflation, a commitment that has fanned concerns that the central bank’s fight against surging prices could tip the economy into recession. Powell is addressing Congress this week, starting with the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday. "We’re not trying to provoke and don’t think that we will need to provoke a recession," Powell said. "But we do think it’s absolutely essential that we restore price stability, really for the benefit of the labor market as much as anything else."
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