U.S. consumer prices tick up just 0.1% as inflation stays tame

Federal Reserve chairman signals cut in US interest rates

Fed chairman hints at first interest rate cut in over a decade

The S&P 500 index traded above the 3,000 level for a second day in a row on Thursday, with stronger-than-expected USA inflation data failing to shake expectations of a rate cut.

The benchmark S&P 500 has climbed about 19% this year and crossed the 3,000 point mark for the first time.

The pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures were up 0.43 per cent, Germany's DAX futures rose 0.42 per cent and Britain's FTSE futures gained 0.33 per cent in early European trade.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared almost 200 points - or 0.7 percent in early trades - to a record 26,983.45 before retreating to close up 0.3 percent at 26,860.20.

"Following the very dovish Powell testimony, we have revised our Fed call and we now expect a Fed rate cut at the July FOMC (instead of Sep FOMC)".

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Overnight, Atlanta Fed bank president Raphael Bostic let nothing out of the bag by saying the central bank was debating the risks and benefits of letting the United States economy run "a little hotter".

Traders have priced in a 100 percent likelihood of a Fed rate cut in July, according to the FedWatch tool from CME Group.

Powell repeated his stance from a day earlier before the House Financial Services Committee that given Facebook's size, the company's plan for its own crypto currency and payments system requires the highest level of scrutiny by global financial regulators with a focus on such issues as privacy, money laundering and Facebook's massive global reach. Powell also said uncertainties over the economic outlook linger. "No matter what you pay them, just finding people to do that work", Powell said.

In his first day of testimony before Congress on Wednesday, Powell confirmed that the USA economy was still under threat from disappointing factory activity, tame inflation and a simmering trade war. Speaking during a second day of congressional testimony, Mr. Powell reiterated the Fed's intention to act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.

Trump's latest tweet on China "means we are not closer to a deal with China", said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

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Gold prices inched higher on Friday as investors shrugged off concerns that stronger-than-expected consumer inflation in the United States could influence the US central bank's decision on aggressive monetary policy easing.

The Nasdaq, which had closed at a record following Powell's testimony on Wednesday, pulled back slightly.

Powell's hints towards an impending interest rate hike were based on his belief that trade tensions between the US and China and lingering weakness in the global economic outlook warrant such measures.

Volume on USA exchanges was 6.17 billion shares. Powell said these added threats were addressed by the Fed at its June meeting. In sum, the minutes re-emphasized the case for easier monetary policy is now stronger.

In his Senate appearance, Powell elaborated on the Fed's concerns about persistently low inflation as a reason that there is growing support for rate cuts, citing the problems Japan and Europe are facing in fighting chronically low inflation.

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