U.S. stocks are up firmly in positive territory Friday morning, reacting to Federal Reserve Chairman’s speech at the Jackson Hole symposium.

The major averages are all up firmly, with S&P and Nasdaq moving on to fresh record highs. The Dow is up 219.40 points or 0.62 percent at 35,432.51.

The S&P 500 is gaining 28.91 points or 0.65 percent at 4,498.91, while the Nasdaq is up 118.00 points or 0.8 percent at 15,063.77.

During his much anticipated speech at the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium this morning, Jerome Powell said the central bank is likely to begin tapering some of its easy-money policies before the end of the year. However, he added that he still feels there’s “much ground to cover” before rate hikes.

Powell said the economy has reached a point where it no longer needs as much policy support, indicating the Fed might start reducing the amount of bonds it purchases each month before the end of 2021, provided the economy continues to progress.

He added that while inflation is solidly around the Fed’s 2% target rate, “we have much ground to cover to reach maximum employment,” which is the second prong of the central bank’s dual mandate and necessary before rate hikes happen.

The Fed chair also explained why he continues to think the rise in inflation is transitory and will drop eventually to the target level. He said that “test has been met” for inflation while there “has also been clear progress toward maximum employment.”

He added that some of the factors that pushed inflation higher are starting to abate. “Inflation at these levels is, of course, a cause for concern. But that concern is tempered by a number of factors that suggest that these elevated readings are likely to prove temporary,” he said.

On the employment front, Powell noted that the delta variant of Covid “presents a near-term risk” to getting back to full employment. However, he said “the prospects are good for continued progress toward maximum employment.”

In economic releases today, data showed personal income in the U.S. increased by 1.1 percent in July, after a revised 0.2 percent advance in June. Meanwhile, personal spending rose by 0.3 percent in July, after rising by an upwardly revised 1.1 percent in June.

Wholesale inventories in the U.S. increased by 0.6 percent month-over-month to $722 billion in July, cooling from an upwardly revised 1.2 percent rise in June, according to a preliminary estimate.

The personal consumption expenditure price index in the U.S.rose 0.4 perent in July, following a 0.5 percent increase a month earlier.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment for the US was revised to 70.3 in August, from a preliminary reading of 70.2.

Among the gainers in the market, Boeing, American Express, Chevron, Goldman Sachs, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Amgen, Caterpillar and Walt Disney are up 1 to 2 percent.

Tech majors Apple, IBM, Cisco Systems and Verizon are hovering around their previous closing levels.

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