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Solid Retail News Sends Stocks Higher, Fed Chair Says Economy Just Beginning Stage 2

Image source: AP photo
Image source: AP photo

Today there was some good news on the retail front, and that gave investors a shot of confidence, sending stock markets higher.

Newly released May numbers show an increase in retail spending. Sales jumped 17.7 percent from April to May – the bounce-back coming as more businesses begin to reopen.

And although an increase in retail sales is good news during the pandemic, the overall number is down more than 6 percent compared to this time last year. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before Senate lawmakers Tuesday, addressing the current downturn in the economy. 

Powell said, "It's helpful to think of it in three stages, the first stage was the shutdown. The second part will be the bounce back, and you should see during that period the economy opening, stores opening, all sorts of different economic entities opening and people going back to work."

"Then we think, and I think most if not all forecasters think, that that will lead us well short of where we were in February – full employment with the economy really working broadly across all of its areas. And the reason for that is there are parts of the economy that will struggle to return to their old ways of activity because they involve getting together people closely in large groups so it's going to take some time to rebuild confidence. Right now, we seem to be in the beginning, we may be in the beginning of that second stage," he said.

Powell testified there is no way to tell just how long the economic downturn will last or how quick recovery may come, but that the Fed will do everything in its power to help lessen the blow. 

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