US stocks rise and yields tumble after Fed's Jerome Powell vows 'unconditional' steps to tame inflation

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  • US stocks jumped on Thursday as investors focused on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress.
  • Powell said he would take an "unconditional" approach to taming inflation as prices rise at the fastest pace in 40 years.
  • Bond yields fell and oil prices edged lower as some finally see relief in surging commodity prices.

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US stocks rose on Thursday as investors were focused on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's second day of testimony to Congress on the state of the US economy.

On Wednesday, Powell told the Senate that managing a soft economic landing will be "very challenging" as inflation hits 40-year highs and interest rates surge higher, making it more expensive for consumers to borrow money to buy everything from a house to a car.

On Thursday, he told Congress the Fed would take an "unconditional" approach to tame inflation while attempting to not drive the economy into a recession .

Powell's relatively hawkish testimony helped lower both bond yields and commodity prices as concerns grow that a slowdown in global growth and an economic recession is possible. US crude futures fell to just above $100 per barrel, representing its lowest price since early May, while the 10-year US Treasury yield fell to 3.08% after hitting a cycle-high of 3.50% earlier this month. 

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Thursday:

An economic recession would ultimately destroy demand for oil as travel declines, helping push prices lower. A rising number of commodities traders anticipate that crude prices will tumble 25% by December, according to data from the New York Stock Exchange.

"Worries about recession and its potential negative impact on demand [are ripping] through cyclical commodities like oil," Saxo Bank strategists said.

Despite the recent decline in oil prices, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett still sees an opportunity in the space, as the billionaire investor boosted his stake in Occidental Petroleum.

Berkshire Hathaway bought another $529 million in Occidental Petroleum stock this month, new SEC filings show. Buffett now commands a 16% stake in the oil and gas company, worth about $8.5 billion. 

Another commodity that moved lower on Thursday was lumber, which fell as mortgage rates hit a fresh 13-year high to edge closer to 6%. The essential building commodity has fallen in tandem with home builders, which have seen demand destruction as mortgage rates creep higher. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell as much as much as 1.73% to $104.35 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, dropped as much as 1.48% to $110.09. 

Bitcoin rose 3.11% to $20,825. Ether prices jumped 4.38% to $1,122.

Gold fell as much as 0.55% to $1,828.30 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 8 basis points to 3.08%.

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