Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said interest rates are "just below" the level that would neither promote nor restrict economic growth, according to a transcript of a speech he's set to give on Wednesday in New York.

"Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth."
— Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

Between the lines: Stocks jumped after the release of the speech, as investors assumed less rate hikes than originally anticipated will be necessary to get to the neutral level. This is a much less aggressive tone than Powell had in October, when he said in an interview with PBS that interest rates were "a long way from neutral."

Powell also addressed the Fed's first-ever "Financial Stability" report, released hours before Wednesday's speech:

  • He said that "overall financial stability vulnerabilities are at a moderate level," but also warned that high levels of corporate debt could "amplify" an economic downturn.
  • Powell added that he didn't "see vulnerabilities as elevated overall today in financial markets," and that equity prices are "broadly consistent with historical benchmarks."
  • The trade war, Brexit, and Italy's budget battle are among the risks Powell said could exacerbate stress to U.S. and global markets.

Go deeper: Jerome Powell's rough road

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AOC to speak at Dem convention

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during an April a press conference in Queens, New York City. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will speak at the Democratic convention next week, to give the nominating speech for Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Tuesday night, CNN first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Her involvement is a strategic decision to energize young progressives without tying former Vice President Joe Biden too closely or directly with her agenda.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 20,001,019 — Total deaths: 733,897 — Total recoveries — 12,209,074Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,085,821 — Total deaths: 163,370 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hellAt least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."
54 mins ago - World

Protests in Belarus turn deadly following sham election

An arrest today in Minsk. Photo: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS via Getty

Protesters and security forces are clashing across Belarus tonight, with at least one person dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested.

Why it matters: Sunday’s rigged presidential elections have yielded political uncertainty unlike any seen in Aleksander Lukashenko’s 26-year tenure. After claiming an implausible 80% of the vote, Lukashenko is using every tool in the authoritarian arsenal to maintain his grip on power.