The Fed chief cautions that victory over inflation is uncertain, despite recent encouraging signs. Though gratified by cooling prices, policymakers remain unconvinced their tightening stance has fully lowered demand, hinting hikes may still come. Powell pledged continued vigilance and was willing to act if needed to reach the 2% target, warning markets against premature Fed pivot hopes. Stocks stumbled on his hawkish tone as Treasury yields climbed, with traders reassessing forecasts for 2023 rate cuts. Powell walked a nuanced line, recognising the risks of overtightening but making clear that the inflation fight continues despite economic resilience.
The S&P 500 ended its longest winning streak in two years after a poor Treasury auction, and hawkish remarks from Fed Chair Powell stoked fears of higher rates, halting the index's rally as it struggled to break resistance as its RSI neared overbought levels. Meanwhile, gains were concentrated in mega-cap tech as the Magnificent Seven accounted for record market share while smaller caps and global equities declined, underscoring fragile sentiment amid recession worries and soft earnings.
Gold prices remain mired in their worst weekly decline in over a month as Treasury yields and the US dollar strengthened following hawkish commentary from the Federal Reserve chair suggesting interest rates may need to move higher to tame inflation. While geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have cooled, limiting safe-haven demand, the precious metal found some support as it held above a key technical level around $1947 even as investors trimmed bets on rate cuts after parsing the Fed's latest signals.
Plummeting demand projections have sent crude prices tumbling for a third straight week, despite easing supply disruption fears from the Middle East conflict. Hawkish Fed signals spurred a dollar rebound and dimmed crude demand outlooks, though Saudi Arabia denies demand is weakening. Extended output cuts until year-end signal producers may act to defend prices after the recent sell-off drove crude to near 4-month lows.
The greenback rallied against the yen as hawkish Fed rhetoric revived rate hike expectations, though its climb was capped by traders wary the strong dollar could hamper US growth prospects. Meanwhile, the Aussie tumbled after the RBA prioritised economic stability over further tightening, and the yuan's global ascent continued as China pledged to boost its international usage through bilateral partnerships.