Good Evening. Stocks climbed on Wednesday, recouping some of this week’s losses, as concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine and its consequences for the global economy weighed on risk assets. Investors were also keeping an eye on comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who suggested the central bank was on pace to hike interest rates later this month despite persistent geopolitical uncertainties.
The Dow Jones closed 1.79% higher, while the S&P 500 closed 1.86% up. The Nasdaq Composite was up by 1.62%.
Even as geopolitical fears roiled financial markets, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell doubled down on the Fed’s timeline to begin raising interest rates in March in prepared remarks before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
“Our monetary policy has been adapting to the evolving economic environment, and it will continue to do so. We have phased out our net asset purchases. With inflation well above 2% and a strong labor market, we expect it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate at our meeting later this month,” according to Powell’s remarks.
Powell also addressed the uncertainty for the global economic landscape introduced following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The bottom line is we will proceed but we will proceed carefully as we learn more about the implications of the Ukraine war,” Powell told the House Financial Services Committee.
Following the Fed’s March meeting, Powell said he backed a 25-basis-point rate raise, confirming market expectations that the central bank would avoid a more aggressive 50-basis-point move due to the uncertain geopolitical context.
Ford’s (F) stock jumped around 8% Wednesday after the carmaker announced it will split its electric vehicle and combustion engine businesses. The legacy Ford Blue business will focus on operations, while the new Ford Model e unit will develop software and connected-vehicle technology for the entire company.
Ford also expects to spend $50 billion on its accelerated electric vehicle strategy through 2026. This will help to capitalize on a growing market as Ford expects electric vehicles to comprise more than half of global volume by 2030.
The move “will accelerate innovation and delivery of breakthrough electric vehicles at scale, and develop software and connected vehicle technologies and services for all of Ford,” the company said in a statement.