Two Fed regional chiefs say July rate cut may not be warranted

Federal Reserve chairman signals cut in US interest rates

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, warned Monday that Congress will have to raise the federal debt limit in the first half of September, otherwise "the federal government can no longer pay all of its bills in full and on time".

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.2 percent, after 3 sessions of losses.

At 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 81 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.15% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9.5 points, or 0.12%.

But on Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell had something to say about the president.

The new high drew a cheer from US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized Powell on monetary policy.

Powell repeated that sentiment in his prepared statement to the House Financial Services Committee, saying that the central bank "would act as appropriate to sustain the expansion".

"Financial stocks are fine today as we're getting ready to enter the earnings season for banking", said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia. Trump said, "I'm a very greedy person". He contrasted the "baseline outlook" of continued U.S. growth against risks including persistently weak inflation, slower growth in other major economies and a downturn in business investment driven by uncertainty over the Trump administration's trade war with China. He said on Wednesday that the central bank stood ready to "act as appropriate" to support record USA economic growth.

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Powell said the Fed stands ready to "act as appropriate" to support record usa economic growth now under threat. The Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed all-time highs.

Powell's statement emphasizing that current trade conditions and muted economic activity are dampening the US economy's outlook had a sanguine effect on the market.

The economy remains generally in "a good place", he said, and consumer spending remains robust.

As regards the labor market, which added a higher-than-expected 224,000 jobs in June, Powell said there has been no evidence yet "for calling this a hot labor market".

Wall Street looked set to open higher on Friday, putting the three indexes on track to extend this week's strong run fueled by rising expectations of an interest rate cut this month.

Gold prices inched higher on Friday as investors shrugged off concerns that stronger-than-expected consumer inflation in the United States could influence the USA central bank's decision on aggressive monetary policy easing. In sum, the minutes re-emphasized the case for easier monetary policy is now stronger.

At the time, Powell expressed the belief that the Fed needed to "normalize" interest rates, which had been slashed to 0 percent during the Great Recession, now that the economy was growing again.

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