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Jerome Powell comments see Wall St. respond

U.S. stock indexes edged higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, with healthcare shares offsetting losses in the energy sector, after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank is “strongly committed” to bringing down inflation.

In his testimony to the Senate committee, Powell pledged an “overarching focus” on bringing down decades-high inflation and reiterated that ongoing increases in the policy rate would be appropriate, with the exact pace dependent on the economic outlook.

“We are not trying to provoke, and I don’t think we will need to provoke, a recession,” Powell said.

Powell’s comments came a week after the Fed raised interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, its largest increase since 1994. Economists expect a similar move next month, followed by a half-percentage-point rise in September, according to a Reuters poll.

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