White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Powell’s job was not in jeopardy. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed over the past few days.
“I think the market is realizing that the Fed is open to being more flexible,” said Brett Ewing, chief market strategist at First Franklin Financial Services.
Retailers led the way after strong holiday shopping data. Sales in the 2018 U.S. holiday shopping season rose 5.1% to more than $850 billion, the strongest in six years, according to a Mastercard (NYSE:MA) report.
All the Dow components were in the green, with Boeing (NYSE:BA) among the top contributors to the index, rising 6.7%. Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), another trade-sensitive name that has been beaten down in the recent selloff, also rose 6.7%.
“It seems like a bear-market rally. Usually they don’t last very long, but this could continue till the month ends,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
“We are in a bear market and when that happens the whole market gets cheap. Investors will likely go for low (valuation) names because they could get into the market that way without getting into trouble.”