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US stocks end mixed as Fed officials sound off on inflation fight and path of future rate hikes

Traders work on the New York Stock Exchange floor.
Traders work on the New York Stock Exchange floor in New York City.AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey
  • US stocks closed mixed as top Fed officials weighed in on what it will take to rein in inflation.

  • Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said he supports raising rates in 25 basis-point increments.

  • Oil prices fell on demand concerns as markets anticipate more hawkish Fed moves.

US equity benchmarks ended mixed on Friday as Federal Reserve officials continued to sound off on the work still needed in order to tamp down high inflation.

Both the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 closed in the red, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average reversed earlier losses to eke out a gain.

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said he is open to steady quarter-point interest rate hikes to keep bringing inflation down, as it gives the US central bank "flexibility to respond to the economy as it comes in," he told reporters on Friday.

Elsewhere, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said inflation remains "much too high" and that the central bank should continue raising rates.

On Thursday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said delivering another rate increase will "lock in" easing inflation, while Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said she had seen a "compelling economic case" for delivering another half-point hike in the fed funds rate at the previous central bank meeting.

Bank of America forecasted on Friday that the Fed will raise rates by 25 basis-points at its meeting in June, extending its forecast for the terminal rate to a range of 5.25%-5.5%

Here's where US indexes stood at the closing bell on Friday: 

Oil prices slid this week on demand concerns spurred by US inflation reports that indicated a monthly rise in consumers and wholesales prices, which may stroke expectations that the central bank could push rates ever higher and possibly tip the US economy into a recession.

For oil, "one major upside risk to prices remains China and its recovery from the transition to living with COVID. Russian output remains another, following reports that its output will fall by half a million barrels per day from March as a result of the price cap," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

Here's what else is happening today:

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

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