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Dow Closes at Record; Fed Chief Says Job Market 'Long Way' From Rebound

Stocks end mixed Wednesday as Fed Chair Jerome Powell says the U.S. labor market is a 'long way' from a recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record Wednesday in mixed trading  after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. labor market was a "long way" from a recovery.

The Dow closed up 62 points, or 0.2%, to 31,437, while the S&P 500 eased 0.03% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.25%.

The three stock market indexes set intraday records earlier in Wednesday's session.

Powell said on Wednesday that strengthening the labor market would take more than just "supportive monetary policy."

“We are still very far from a strong labor market whose benefits are broadly shared,” Powell said in a speech before the Economic Club of New York. “Achieving and sustaining maximum employment will require more than supportive monetary policy.”

“Fully realizing the benefits of a strong labor market will take continued support from both near-term policy and longer-run investments so that all those seeking jobs have the skills and opportunities that will enable them to contribute to, and share in, the benefits of prosperity,” Powell said.

Powell's speech comes as President Joe Biden and Democrats push a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. The proposal likely will be passed without support from lawmakers on the Republican side.

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More stimulus from Congress and progress on vaccination distribution have many investors worried that inflation will increase in the months ahead.

The consumer price index rose 0.3% in January, matching economists' forecasts. The rate of inflation over the past year was unchanged at 1.4%. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also rose 1.4%.

Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital Management and portfolio manager of the Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF  (IVOL) - Get Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility And Inflation Hedge ETF Report, said that while the data wasn't showing an increase in inflation now, it's "on its way thanks to fiscal and monetary stimulus and pent-up consumer demand that should intensify as the economy reopens."

The yield on the 10-year Treasury traded at 1.134% after the CPI reading.

Stocks closed mixed Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending six-day winning streaks but the Nasdaq finishing at a record. 

General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report fell 2.1% on Wednesday after the automaker posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings amid a rebound in demand for its cars and trucks, though it warned a global semiconductor shortage could cut into 2021 earnings.

Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report jumped 13% Wednesday after reporting record revenue for the fourth quarter but warning that user growth in 2021 could slow.