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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks fell early Wednesday, giving back some of the prior session’s gains as markets awaited testimony from the Federal Reserve chief on inflation and monetary policy.

In prepared testimony, Fed Chief Jerome Powell said that further inflation “surprises” could come after the wave of unexpected price increases over the last year.

The Senate banking committee hearing, the first of two appearances before lawmakers this week, follows Tuesday’s equity market rally in the wake of the market downturn in 2022.

Valuations give investors pause in buying beaten-up U.S. stocks

Markets are jittery ahead of the upcoming earnings period, where the weakening economic outlook is expected to weigh on forecasts.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.8 percent at 30,287.75.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent to 3,740.54, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent to 11,019.80.

Among industrial sectors, petroleum-linked equities were especially weak, as oil prices fell on demand concerns and as US President Joe Biden called for a three-month halt to the federal gas tax to address soaring fuel prices.

ExxonMobil and Chevron were both down more than four percent.

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