Technology companies helped push U.S. stocks higher Wednesday afternoon, placing the Nasdaq composite on track for an all-time high.
The gains kicked off early as Wall Street welcomed new signals from the Federal Reserve that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut.
“Investors are increasingly confident that the Fed will cut rates by a quarter-point at the end of the month, which most investors expected,” said Kate Warne, chief investment strategist at Edward Jones. “This removed a little bit of the uncertainty there, and that's why we're seeing stocks move higher.”
The market rallied through much of June after the Fed first signaled that it might cut rates if necessary to shore up the U.S. economy.
Wednesday's gains briefly sent the S&P 500 index trading above 3,000 for the first time before losing some of its momentum. The benchmark index set record highs three straight days last week.
• The S&P 500 index rose 13.44 points, or 0.5%, to 2,993.07. The index is now less than 0.1% below its all-time high set last Wednesday.
• The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 76.71 points, or 0.3%, to 26,860.20.
• The Nasdaq climbed 60.80 points, or 0.7%, to 8,202.53, a record. It's previous record high was also set last Wednesday.
• The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rebounded from a brief slide, gaining 0.2%.