Wall Street's major averages closed with modest gains on Tuesday as dovish comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell set in motion a rebound that was fueled by bargain hunters in beaten down health care and telecom stocks.
Early losses associated with the weaker dollar and concerns about higher inflation were pared when Powell assured Wall Street that the Fed would "remain alert to any financial stability risks" signalling the central bank's adherence to a policy of ample liquidity.
Following Monday's 400+ point rally in the Dow, US equities retreated overnight as a result of a five-month low in the dollar versus the yen, and ahead of Wednesday's CPI that could inflame inflationary jitters and give the Fed ammunition to hike rates more aggressively this year.
Selling pressure was mitigated by Powell's remarks, along with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note backing off the 2.85% level and a slight rebound in the dollar against the yen. The weaker dollar helped lift the price of gold and oil, the latter giving a boost to the energy complex.
The economic calendar heats up Wednesday with the release of the January consumer price index, expected to show a 0.3% increase in the nominal and 0.2% gain in the core.
Also, retail sales are expected to gain 0.3% last month, with sales excluding autos up by 0.5% and sales excluding autos and gas up 0.3%.
Earnings set for release before Wednesday's open include Groupon ( GRPN ), Dr Pepper Snapple ( DPS ) with Cisco ( CSCO ) and TripAdvisor ( TRIP ) reporting after close.
Here's where the markets stood at the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 39.18 points (+0.16%)
S&P 500 was up 6.94 points (+0.26%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31.55 points (+0.45%)
FTSE 100 was down 0.13%
Nikkei 225 was down 0.65%
Hang Seng Index was up 1.29%
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 1.00%
(+) ZN (+86.96%) Discovered oil at its Israeli wells
(+) WMIH (+54.52%) Agreed to merge with Nationstar Mortgage Holdings ( NSM )
(+) CATB (+24.80%) Duchenne muscular dystrophy candidate slows disease progression
(+) GNC (+18.14%) To receive $300 million investment from China's Harbin Pharmaceutical, reported in-line Q4 earnings, below-consensus revenue
(-) DARE (-39.78%) Prices $10.3 million stock, warrant offering
(-) HMNY (-32.04%) Announced public offering of stock
(-) AFMD (-16.33%) Priced 11.5 million common stock offering at 18% discount to Monday's closing price