“Stocks climbed after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke underscored that low interest rates are needed to boost the jobs market, offsetting soft readings on the domestic economy,” Chris Dieterich reports for The Wall Street Journal.
“Stocks followed overseas markets higher and held gains into the afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 129 points, or 1%, to 13209,” Dieterich reports. “The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose 14 points, or 1%, to 1411, erasing last week’s seven-point decline. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 43 points, to 1.4%, to 3111.”
Dieterich reports, “Before the opening bell, Mr. Bernanke said low interest-rate policies were needed to confront deep, continuing problems in the U.S. labor market. Some interpreted the statement to mean the door remains open for another round of monetary stimulus; that pushed down the dollar. ‘We saw no major changes [from Bernanke], so it likely calmed investors more than anything,’ said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates in Toledo, Ohio.”
“A pair of soft readings on the domestic economy did little to hinder Monday’s stock-market gains. Pending home sales fell slightly in February versus expectations for a modest gain. Separately, data showed business conditions in Texas-area manufacturing are expanding this month but at a slower pace than in February,” Dieterich reports.
Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose $9.05, or 1.52%, to $605.10 in mid-afternoon trading.