US stocks rise as investors wait for Fed summit and as Biden announces long-awaited student debt plan

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • US stocks moved higher on Wednesday as President Joe Biden canceled $10,000 in student loan debt.
  • The loan forgiveness program will also extend the pause in federal student loan payments to the end of the year.
  • Investors are awaiting a key speech from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at this Friday's Jackson Hole summit.

US stocks rallied on Wednesday as investors await a key speech from the Fed and President Joe Biden cancels federal student loan debt.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is set to give a speech at 10 am on Friday at the Jackson Hole summit, in which investors will seek to assess whether Powell is leaning more hawkish or dovish heading into September's FOMC meeting. Powell will not be making a decision on interest rates at this Friday's meeting.

Powell has signaled that going forward, the Fed will be more sensitive to incoming economic data to determine if inflation is falling and whether more interest rate hikes are appropriate. Market expectations currently call for the Fed to raise interest rates by another 75 basis points at its September meeting, though some think that would be a mistake.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

Investors were also watching President Joe Biden's announcement Wednesday on the cancellation of $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year.

The loan forgiveness program will also cancel up to $20,000 in loan debt for Pell Grant recipients, and it will extend the current pause on federal student loan repayments to the end of the year for the final time.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond jumped more than 30% on Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the retailer secured new financing to help bolster liquidity.

Famed short-seller Jim Chanos is trading meme stocks once again, as he revealed that he is now short AMC Entertainment while at the same time being long the new APE preferred shares. The two securities share the same economic right to AMC's future cash flows, but trade at a difference of more than $2 per share.

"I think they should be the same price or roughly the same... I'm counting on them to close [the price gap]," Chanos said. 

Retail investors in South Korea hold a combined stake of more than $15 billion in Elon Musk's Tesla, according to Bloomberg. Many have gone all-in on the electric carmaker, with one family putting their entire $230,000 life savings into Tesla stock, Bloomberg said.

Norway has taken the lead from Russia in supplying natural gas to Europe, Reuters has reported, as Moscow chokes off its deliveries and EU countries work on cutting Russian energy imports.

Meanwhile, the UK didn't import any fuel from Russia in June, marking the first such occurrence on record and keeping in line with the government's aim to stop importing Russian energy as a result of Moscow's war against Ukraine. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 1.40% to $95.05 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, rose 1.15% to $101.37.

Bitcoin rallied 2.49% to $21,788. Ether prices rose 4.45% to $1,686.

Gold gained 0.16% to $1,764.10 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed 7 basis points to 3.11%.

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