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US stock indices gained on Thursday after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s comments boosted investors’ hopes for a rate cut in June.

At 11:38 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 125.82 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 38,786.87, the S&P 500 was up 44.25 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 5,149.01, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 199.87 points, or 1.25 per cent, at 16,231.41.

At 9:32 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 219.73 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 38,880.78, the S&P 500 was up 32.08 points, or 0.63 per cent, at 5,136.84, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 111.59 points, or 0.70 per cent, at 16,143.14.

Powell said on Thursday the US central bank is “not far” from getting enough confidence that inflation is heading to the Fed’s 2 per cent goal to be able to start interest-rate cuts.

On Wednesday, he said the Federal Reserve expects to cut interest rate later this year.

“If the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year,” Powell said in remarks. “But the economic outlook is uncertain, and ongoing progress toward our 2% inflation objective is not assured,” he said.

At the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123.25 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 38,784.30. The S&P 500 opened higher by 27.62 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 5,132.38, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 115.78 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 16,147.32.

Shares of Meta rose 2.7 per cent, Nvidia gained 3.4 per cent, Kroger jumped 7.3 per cent, American Eagle Outfitters added 4.9 per cent, and New York Community Bancorp was 7.5 per cent higher.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 4.10 per cent from 4.11 per cent late on Wednesday.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2 per cent at 7,695.30. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.7 per cent at 8,012.50. Germany’s DAX added 0.5 per cent at 17,802.76.

Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.9 per cent at 4,959.09.

The European Central Bank kept its rates unchanged for a fourth straight meeting on Thursday and lowered its inflation forecast.

In Asian stock markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged lower 1.3 per cent at 16,229.78. China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.4 per cent at 3,027.40. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.2 per cent at 39,598.71.

Gold prices extended gains to hit an all-time high on Thursday after comments from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell fostered hopes for lower interest rates this year.

Spot gold gained 0.4 per cent to $2,157.51 per ounce, as of 1003 GMT. US gold futures rose 0.3 per cent to $2,165.20.

Oil prices fell on Thursday after Powell remarks.

Brent crude futures slipped 42 cents or 0.5 per cent to $82.54 a barrel by 1010 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures inched down 36 cents or 0.4 per cent to $78.77 a barrel.

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