Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
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Technology stocks pared steep early losses Tuesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank’s promise to keep interest rates near zero and maintain its bond-buying program until the U.S. economy improves.
In the Fed’s semiannual monetary policy report to Congress, Powell said that “the economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals, and it is likely to take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved.” He pointed to hefty unemployment rates among lower-income workers as a particular concern.
Most of the views in his speech echo prior comments from Powell at panels and in news conferences.
Nevertheless, an early-session selloff in technology stocks moderated after his comments, with the Nasdaq Composite down 2% at 11:45 a.m. It had declined as much as 3.9% in morning trading. Long-term Treasury yields were flat as Powell answered questions from Congress, paring a mild advance that occurred during his speech.
In his prepared comments, Powell said that officials believe rates should remain near zero “until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the committee’s assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2% and is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time…