Stock market today: Wall Street is higher ahead of speech by Federal Reserve’s head

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising in early trading Friday ahead of a speech by the head of the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 was up 0.4%, coming off its worst loss in three weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 163 points, or 0.5%, at 34,362, as of 9:40 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.6% higher.

The day’s headliner is Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who is giving a speech at an annual Fed event that’s been the site of big policy announcements in the past. The hope is that he’ll say the fall in inflation over the last year is encouraging and that the Fed may be done with hiking interest rates.

But such hopes have been diminishing following a string of stronger-than-expected reports on the economy. They could be putting upward pressure on inflation, and the worry is that Powell at the least will say no cuts to rates are coming early next year, as some traders have bet. He is scheduled to speak at 10:05 a.m. Eastern time.

The Fed has already hiked its main interest rate to the highest level since 2001 in its drive to grind down high inflation. High rates do that by bluntly slowing the economy and hurting prices for investments. They’ve already sent the manufacturing industry into contraction and helped cause three high-profile U.S. failures during the spring.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury has climbed to its highest level since 2007 as expectations rise that rates may stay higher for longer. It ticked up to 4.25% from 4.24% late Thursday and from less than 0.70% three years ago.

High yields mean bonds are paying more in interest to investors. They also make investors less likely to pay high prices for stocks and other investments that can swing more sharply in price than bonds.

The two-year Treasury, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, rose to 5.06% from 5.02% late Thursday.

The threat of rates staying higher for longer has helped send stocks tumbling in August following what had been a gangbusters year. It also overshadowed a blowout profit report on Thursday from Nvidia, which has become one of Wall Street’s most influential stocks. The chip maker again gave a stronger forecast for upcoming revenue than expected, giving hope that this year’s frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology may be warranted.

Marvell Technology, another company that’s been citing growth coming from AI, fell 6.6% after its profit report. Its results were a touch higher than analysts expected. Its stock had already rallied nearly 55% coming into the day.

On the winning side of Wall Street, Gap rose 3% after the retailer reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected, though its revenue fell just shy of forecasts.

In markets abroad, stock indexes were modestly higher in Europe after tumbling across much of Asia.

AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.