U.S. stocks open mostly lower ahead of testimony from Powell

Stocks were slightly lower today, as traders wait for more clues on the Federal Reserve’s thinking on inflation.

The S&P 500 index was down 0.1% as of 8:55 a.m. Central. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite was mostly unchanged.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify before Congress later today on the central bank’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Investors remain focused on the issue of inflation and will be listening closely to Powell’s comments on this issue. The U.S. economy is recovering from the pandemic quickly as vaccines have rolled out, but it’s caused prices for basic materials to rise noticeably in recent months.

In prepared remarks, Powell reaffirmed the Fed’s position that while inflation has accelerated recently, the Fed expect the effects to be transitory.

Powell’s remarks follow a meeting of the Fed policymakers last week, when central bank officials signaled they were prepared to raise rates earlier than they had previously suggested.

GameStop rose 9% after the company announced it had raised $1 billion in selling new shares to investors.

The price of Bitcoin continued to fall, adding to its losses from the previous couple of weeks. The digital currency is trading under $30,000, according to Coindesk, about where it started the year. It traded above $60,000 in mid-April.