Wall Street set to extend gains as Fed Chair Powell offers soothing words

Jerome Powell

Powell downplays inflation worries

U.S. stock markets looked set for further gains on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated in his testimony to Congress that current consumer price increases will likely prove transitory.

Powell, who appeared before lawmakers on Tuesday, said the inflation that is currently rippling through markets mostly reflected factors closely linked to the economic reopening, and the fact that prices dropped significantly last spring at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which make prices look much larger now compared with a year ago.

The Fed boss told lawmakers that it is “very, very unlikely” the American economy will suffer 1970s-style inflation.

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were indicated 45 points, or 0.13% to 33,880. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6.87 points, or 0.05% while S&P 500 futures jumped were flat.

Fauci calls delta variant the “greatest threat” to U.S. attempt to eliminate Covid-19

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that the delta variant of the coronavirus is the “greatest threat” to United States’ attempt to eliminate Covid-19 in its borders, according a CNBC report.

Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said during a White House Covid-19 response team briefing on Tuesday that the variant is more contagious and causes more severe disease than other circulating variants.

Cases of the variant, which was first detected in India, have doubled over the past two weeks in the nation.

More than 20% of new Covid-19 cases were caused by the variant as of June 19, up from around 10% the week ended June 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As was the case with B.1.1.7, we seem to be following the pattern with the Delta variant, with a doubling time of about two weeks,” Fauci said.

He, however, noted that the mRNA vaccines, which are developed by Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)/BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), appear to hold up against the variant.

Embark to go public via $5.2 billion SPAC deal

Embark Trucks Inc, a U.S. autonomous truck technology company, has agreed to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition firm Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: NGAB), according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal said that the deal values the equity of the combined company at approximately $5.2 billion.

Special purpose acquisition companies, also known as blank-check companies, are shell companies formed to raise funds to acquire private businesses.

A SPAC listing allows companies to bypass Wall Street’s traditional initial public offering (IPO) process to list a stock.

Embark would become the latest self-driving trucking company to enter U.S. public markets this year TuSimple (NASDAQ: TSP) debut in April.