data and Powell testimony in focus
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note inched higher to 2.864 percent at 2:56 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 2.971 percent. The short-term two-year note yield hit a new high of 2.619 percent, its highest level since Aug. 6, 2008 when the two-year yielded as high as 2.644 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
"He seems very intent to remain on the path laid out with the continued “gradual” pace of interest rate hikes and roll off of their balance sheets. There is no need yet for him to pre commit as to what they will do at the December meeting as it is still 5 months away," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group.
Powell said the economy is strong enough to handle tighter monetary policy. He noted: "Overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we currently anticipate." Powell also said growth in the second quarter was "considerably stronger than in the first."
However, the chairman said there is a "rising chorus of concern" from businesses over rising tariffs. "In general, countries that have remained open to trade, that haven't erected barriers including tariffs, have grown faster, they have higher incomes, higher productivity," he said.