Investors largely took Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments on the outlook for interest rates in stride on Tuesday - a development that might have come as a surprise to some market watchers.

One might have expected Powell delivering what economists at Evercore ISI described as a "measured reset" of the Fed's plans for rate cuts to have elicited more volatility in markets.

A Fear Trade as Tensions Rise in the Mideast

Fear equals opportunity. The greater the fear, the greater the opportunity.

This cold calculation reflects how markets behave when investors are scared by military conflict, terrorism, and similar events that lower the value of financial assets.

Europe's Action on Forced Labor Lags Behind U.S., Lawmakers Say

The U.S. State Department should press the U.K. and European Union to take a harder line on forced labor linked to China's Xinjiang region, influential House lawmakers said, pressing for more diplomatic engagement as the EU weighs new rules.

The department should increase U.S. diplomatic efforts to combat China's alleged use of forced labor, the bipartisan leaders of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter that will be made public later Wednesday.

Mike Johnson Vows to Stay Speaker as Foreign-Aid Plan Sparks Backlash

WASHINGTON-House Speaker Mike Johnson vowed to remain speaker Tuesday as he faced the most direct challenge to his leadership since taking the gavel last fall, sparked by his effort to pass long-stalled funding for Ukraine, Israel and other overseas allies.

The Louisiana Republican set plans to maneuver a complicated, four-part piece of legislation through the House by the end of the week-likely relying heavily on Democratic votes-while also keeping his job, even as more Republicans indicated they were souring on his leadership. By late in the day, there were signs his effort was unraveling, with meetings with GOP lawmakers going deep into the night and no bill text released.

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-17-24 0623ET