Dow Hits Five-Year High on Bernanke Comments, Data
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages surged Wednesday, with the Dow within striking distance from its all-time high, on a raft of good economic data and as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled ongoing support for accommodative monetary policies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 175.24 points, or 1.26%, at 14,075, just off its all-time closing high of 14,164. The blue-chip index rose by triple digits for a second day in a row.
Technology shares were among the top percentage performers in the broader market even as investors monitored developments out of Apple's(AAPL) annual shareholders' meeting.
CEO Tim Cook said that innovation is the best way to add value for shareholders. He also said that Apple is actively thinking about returning cash to shareholders. The investment community has been concerned about what the iPhone maker planned to do with its massive cash hoard of more than $137 billion.
During the meeting, Cook once again dismissed a lawsuit by Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn as a "silly" sideshow. Shares dropped 0.98% in volatile trading as Cook addressed stakeholders.
The markets continued to pay close attention to Bernanke's comments as he continued his semi-annual testimony before Congress.
Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday, Bernanke said, though, that the Fed alone couldn't bear the entire burden of spurring the economic recovery, and urged lawmakers to find alternatives to the sequestration ahead of a March 1 deadline.
On Wednesday, Bernanke gave his semi-annual testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. He reiterated his continued support for easy monetary policy and once again voiced his concerns about the looming spending cuts in Washington.
Gold for April delivery fell $19.80 to settle at $1,595.70 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude oil futures were up 22 cents to $92.85 a barrel.