STOCK MARKET NEWS: S&P, Dow Jones futures rebound after Fed rate hike, Rail protests continue

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Stock futures whipsaw following Fed-fueled plunge

U.S. equity futures were searching for direction following the Fed’s latest interest rate hike.

The U.S. dollar which had been trading 1% higher against the Japanese Yen, reversed course, falling 1% after Japanese authorities intervened in the forex market for the first time since 1998 to shore up the battered currency.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo slid 0.6%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 1.6% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index sank 0.3%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, fell to 3.51% on Thursday.

Oil traded higher on Thursday after sliding 1% in the previous session on fears of a global recession.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude traded around $82.00 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $89.00 per barrel.

The Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike and raised its outlook for more to cool galloping inflation.

The central bank’s latest rate hike lifted its benchmark rate to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level in 14 years, and up from zero at the start of the year.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.7% on Wednesday to a two-month low

The S&P 500 fell to 3,789.93. The Dow fell 1.7% to 30,183.78, and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.8% to 11,220.19.

The major Wall Street indexes are on pace for their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.

Fed’s Powell abandons promise of ‘soft landing’ amid inflation fight

Federal Reserve  Chairman Jerome Powell is seemingly walking away from the promise of a soft economic landing as the U.S. central bank tries to wrestle inflation under control with the most aggressive interest rate hikes in decades.

For months, Powell has argued that a soft landing – the sweet spot between curbing inflation without crushing growth – is possible, but he seemed to abandon that stance on Wednesday. 

Speaking to reporters in Washington after the Fed voted to lift the benchmark federal funds rate by 75 basis points for the third straight month, Powell conceded that a recession is possible and that securing a soft landing will be “very challenging,” though he cautioned that no one knows if the tightening campaign will lead to a downturn, and if so how significant it will be. 

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Gasoline price rises again

The average price of a gallon of gasoline gained again on Thursday to $3.684, according to AAA.

Wednesday’s price was $3.681, rising for the first time in nearly 100 days, after hitting a high of $5.016 on June 14. 

Diesel’s price slipped to $4.919 per gallon.

Oil rises on supply fears

Oil traded higher on Thursday after sliding 1% in the previous session on fears of a global recession.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude traded around $83.00 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $90.00 per barrel.

Both benchmarks fell to a near two-week low on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the third time to tame inflation. The central bank also signaled that borrowing costs would keep rising this year.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.1 million barrels in the past to 430.8 million barrels, smaller than analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.2 million-barrel rise.

Cryptocurrency prices for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin were higher Thursday morning

Bitcoin was trading at around $19,000, after trading down in eight of the last nine days.

For the week, Bitcoin is lower by more than 8%. For the month, the cryptocurrency was down more than 6%. Bitcoin is down more than 59% year-to-date.

Ethereum was trading around $1,200, after losing more than 23% in the past week.

Dogecoin was trading at 5 cents, after losing 6% in the past week.

Rail freight deal still needs worker support as voting begins

The tentative deal that averted a strike by freight railroad workers takes the next step on Thursday as the unions involved begin voting on whether to accept it.

There seems to be opposition as some rail workers remain unhappy with working conditions.

Some protested outside their workplaces Wednesday.

Pickets sprung up outside rail yards across the country organized by a newly formed workers group separate from the 12 unions that negotiated the deals last week with the major U.S. freight railroads. 

The protesters expressed dissatisfaction with the deals, just as the unions are trying to explain the potential benefits they negotiated to their roughly 115,000 members ahead of contract votes.

The contract talks included Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern and a number of other railroads, so the entire country would have been affected by a strike.

Click here to read more on the story: Rail freight deal still needs worker support as voting begins

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