WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Federal Reserve Board Ch
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell listens to a question during a news conference after the attending the Boardâ??s two-day meeting, on July 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. Powell announced that the Fed agreed to cut interest rates by a quarter of a point, which is the first rate cut since 2008. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
  • US stocks extended record highs on Thursday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke at this year's virtual Jackson Hole symposium.
  • Powell outlined the central bank's overhauled strategy for controlling inflation and avoiding future crises.
  • On the economic data front, initial jobless claims came in at 1 million for the week ending August 22, in line with consensus estimates, as the US continues to its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Abbott and Fluidigm both won FDA approval for their COVID-19 tests, boosting hopes that the US wait time for COVID-19 results will shorten in length.
  • Oil prices traded lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 1%, to $42.96 per barrel..

US stocks extended records on Thursday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke at this year's virtual Jackson Hole symposium. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes set all-time highs shortly after the market open.

Powell outlined the central bank's overhauled strategy for controlling inflation and avoiding future crises. Equity futures turned positive as he spoke and opened higher after an overnight sell-off.

On the economic data front, initial jobless claims came in at 1 million for the week ending August 22, in line with consensus estimates. Continuing claims, which measure the sum of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, totaled 14.5 million for the week that ended August 15, a slight decrease from the prior week.

Here's where US indexes stood shortly after market opened on Wednesday:

The JSE's all share index ended half a percent higher.

On the COVID-19 testing front, two companies just won FDA emergency authorization for their COVID-19 tests. Fluidigm announced on Wednesday that the FDA approved its COVID-19 saliva test, which would be a welcome change to the more invasive nasal swab testing methodology.

Additionally, Abbott announced on Wednesday that the FDA approved its COVID-19 test that will cost just $5 and deliver results in just 15 minutes.

Spot gold fell as much as 1.1%, to $1,932.22 per ounce. Gold briefly surpassed $2,000 per ounce earlier this month as investors bought gold as a potential inflation hedge.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude slid as much as 1.3%, to $42.83 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's global benchmark, fell 1.3%, to $45.05, at intraday lows.

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