Powell's remarks came as he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before the House Financial Services Committee about their actions to counter the coronavirus's impacts on the economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in millions of job losses, and data from Johns Hopkins University show that more than 200,000 people in the US have died from the respiratory disease and nearly 6.88 million have been infected.
The White House and congressional Democrats have been in a stalemate for weeks over a second round of financial stimulus after the previous package that provided $600 million in enhanced weekly payments to the unemployed ended in July.
Mnuchin told the committee that a new stimulus package "should be more targeted. It should be more focused on kids and jobs and areas of the economy that are still hit."
Market participants, however, have said they expect new stimulus to take a back seat to the battle between Democrats and Republicans over the pending nomination of a new Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the bench.
Consumer discretionary shares led the marking higher, jumping about 3%. Amazon.com (AMZN) popped 5.7%, and Nike (NKE) rose 3.1%. DR Horton (DHI) added 4.7%.
Communications services added nearly 1.9%, led forward by Walt Disney's (DIS) 1.4% gain, Comcast's (CMCSA) 3.4% advance, and Charter Communications (CHTR) 3.1% rise.
Microsoft's (MSFT) 2.4% rise and Apple's (AAPL) 1.6% gain helped to lift tech shares about 1.8% higher. Visa (V) added 1.6%.
Energy shares led the market lower, falling more than 1% as crude oil futures rose. West Texas Intermediate gained 0.6% to $39.55 a barrel while international benchmark Brent gained about 0.7% to $41.72 a barrel.
Chevron (CVX) and Philips 66 (PSX) each retreated 1%. Exxon Mobil (XOM) lost 2.5%.
Carvana (CVNA) soared almost 31% after the used-car buyer and seller said it expects to reach records in the third quarter, including revenue and retail units sold aid a surge in online shopping amid the pandemic. Online used-car seller Vroom (VRM) rose about 15% after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating on the company to buy from neutral.
Ralph Lauren (RL) rose 5.4% after the luxury-apparel company said it would cut jobs and bulk up its online operations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%, and the Standard & Poor's 500 gained about 1.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended 1.7% higher.
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