U.S. stocks open higher as investors assess Fed rate outlook, await key speeches

   U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday, shaking off modest weakness seen earlier after The Wall Street Journal reported that policy makers appeared to be on track to deliver another 75 basis-point rate increase this month.</p> <p>Investors were also awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard, among other senior Fed officials, along with the release of the latest Fed-compiled Beige Book. 

  What’s happening 
  The Dow Jones Industrial Average 
   gained 50 points, or 0.2% to around 31,210

  The S&amp;P 500 
   added 14 points, or 0.3% to 3,921

  The Nasdaq 
   advanced 74 points, or 0.6% to 11,616

   On Tuesday, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.7%, logging its seventh straight daily decline and marking its longest losing streak since 2016. The Dow Jones fell 173 points, or 0.6%, while the S&amp;P 500 declined 0.4%. </p>What’s driving markets <p>A report published by The Wall Street Journal said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s commitment to reducing inflation even if it increases unemployment appeared to put the central bank on track to hike interest rates by 0.75 percentage point, rather than half of a percentage point, when policy makers meet later this month. </p> <p>Traders had already largely priced in a 75 basis point move. Fed-funds futures traders priced in an 82% chance of a 75 basis point move following the report, up from 73% on Tuesday, according to the CME FedWatch tool.</p> <p>“Increasing expectations of a more aggressive Fed continued to hurt equities, as higher rates mean higher borrowing costs for companies, as well as lower present values, especially for high-tech firms, which are usually valued by discounting expected cash flows,” said Charalampos Pissouros, senior investment analyst at XM, in a note. “That’s maybe why the tech-sensitive Nasdaq was Wall Street’s main loser yesterday.”</p> <p>A sharp surge in Treasury yields pressured stocks on Tuesday. The benchmark...</p>..

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