US stocks trade mixed as investors mull economic outlook ahead of Fed chief's testimony

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US stocks trade mixed as investors mull economic outlook ahead of Fed chief's testimony
Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks edged slightly lower on Tuesday as investors digested talks from a number of Federal Reserve speakers who have signaled that the central bank will continue to provide support to the economy. Chair Jerome Powell's written remarks prepared for Tuesday's appearance before Congress show he's sticking with his outlook that the pickup in inflation is transitory.

Powell will answer questions from lawmakers at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

After a more hawkish Fed outlook last week, New York Fed President John Williams offered a more relaxed view on Monday, saying he expects the recent spike in inflation to be temporary.

St. Louis Fed President Bullard said the Fed ought to set up its tapering timeline so it could be adjusted if necessary, raising the prospect that the pace could change depending on the strength of the economic recovery and inflation outcomes, Deutsche Bank analysts said.

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"The stock market is being driven by a variety of factors, including Federal Reserve stimulus, inflation risks, tax policy uncertainty and the economic recovery," said Tom Mantione, managing director at UBS Private Wealth Management. "While the global economy continues to make progress on the reopening front, a reemergence of Covid-19 due to variants and a lack of vaccine penetration are risks for the market and may spark elevated volatility in the fall."

It's been a brutal morning in the cryptocurrency space. Bitcoin fell below $30,000 for the first time since January, nearly erasing all of its 2021 gains. Meanwhile, ether fell 7.23% to $1,801.91, and dogecoin fell 23% to 19 cents.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.42% to $73.35 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, traded above $75 a barrel for the first time in two years this morning. It pared back gains and now sits at $74.69.

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Gold slipped 0.48% to $1,774.40 per ounce.

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