US stocks have closed higher and the S&P 500 index briefly crossed the 3000-point mark for the first time as remarks by Jerome Powell reassured investors about the potential for an interest rate cut later this month.

The Dow also hit an intraday record while the Nasdaq closed at an all-time high following the release of prepared remarks for Powell’s testimony before the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. Powell said the central bank stands ready to “act as appropriate” to support record US economic growth.

The S&P 500 breached the 3000-mark just after the opening on Wednesday, but ended slightly below that level at 2993.07 points. Some investors said the breach may boost confidence in a market that has been breaking to record highs this year. Other market watchers, however, were less certain. Amazon, Microsoft and Apple were among the biggest boosts to the indexes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 76.71 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 26,860.2, the S&P 500 gained 13.44 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 2993.07 and the Nasdaq Composite added 60.80 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 8202.53.