Closing Bell: Stocks Edge Up on Assurances from Bernanke

federal reserve chairman ben bernanke bond buying stimulus stock markets economy
Charles Dharapak/AP
Stocks edged higher Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said there was no timeline for drawing down the Fed's bond-buying program. Earnings gains for several major companies also helped.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 18.67 points, or 0.12 percent, to 15,470.52, while the Standard & Poor's 500 (^GPSC) index climbed 4.65 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,680.91. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 11.50 points, or 0.32 percent, to 3,610.00.

In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Bernanke told lawmakers the Fed's timetable for reducing its bond purchases isn't on a "preset course," and that the central bank could increase or decrease the amount based on how the economy performs.

Bernanke noted that the labor market had made some progress since the Fed began buying $85 billion a month in bonds in September, and repeated his belief that the Fed could slow that pace later this year if the economy strengthens.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell to a 10-month low in June, mostly because apartment construction fell sharply. But applications for permits to build single-family houses rose to the highest level in five years, suggesting the housing recovery will continue.

The Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy grew in most parts of the country, from late May through early July. In its latest survey, known as the Beige Book, the Fed said economic activity was bolstered by the housing recovery, consumer spending and increased factory output.

In commodities trading, the price of crude oil rose 48 cents to $106.48 a barrel. Gold fell $12.90, or 1 percent, to $1,277.50 an ounce.

Billionaire activist Carl Icahn renewed his call for Dell (DELL) shareholders to vote against a buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell. Stockholders are scheduled to vote Thursday on Dell's plan to take the No. 3 PC maker private in a $24.4 billion deal. Icahn argues that Michael Dell's $13.65-a-share offer "substantially" undervalues the company. Dell reportedly won't raise his offer, even if the shareholder vote is delayed, a move aimed at boosting support for the deal.

Google (GOOG) appears poised to introduce the next generation of its Nexus tablets -- at least, that's what invitations sent Wednesday to the media suggest. The unveiling is likely to come at a July 24 event in San Francisco.

Among other stocks in the news:
  • Yahoo (YHOO) rose $2.78, or 10.3 percent, to $29.66 after reassuring investors that it would keep buying back its own stock. The Internet company has already spent $3.6 billion buying back about 190 million of its shares since last year.
  • Shares of Bank of America (BAC) jumped 38 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $14.30 after the company reported a 70 percent increase in profits, driven largely by cost-cutting. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company earned $3.6 billion in the quarter, or 32 cents a share, beating analyst expectations.
  • St. Jude Medical (STJ) jumped $2.52, or 5.2 percent, to $50.98 after the medical device maker reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings on higher sales of its heart-shocking implants.
  • American Express (AXP) fell $1.50, or 1.9 percent, to $76.77 after a report said European regulators are proposing to cap the lucrative processing fees the card company imposes.
  • Mattel (MAT) fell $3.17, or 6.8 percent, to $43.16 after its second-quarter net income fell 24 percent, hurt by weak sales in North America and continued softness in Barbie demand, as well as an asset impairment charge.
  • Knoll Inc. (KNL) reported a drop in its second-quarter revenue and net income, but the results beat market expectations. Shares rose temporarily but ended the day unchanged, at $15.50.
  • A day after reporting a 4.5 percent rise in profits, CSX Corp. (CSX) officials said investors shouldn't expect much earnings growth this year. The company did predict earnings would grow 10 to 15 percent in 2014 and 2015, as the economy recovers and shipments of crude oil and the sand used in shale oil mining keep growing. CSX stock advanced 43 cents, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $25.07.
What to watch Thursday:
  • The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, and the Conference Board releases leading indicators for June.
The following major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:
  • Capital One Financial Corp. (COF)
  • Google Inc. (GOOG)
  • Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
  • Nokia Corp. (NOK)
  • Philip Morris International Inc. (PM)
  • Safeway Inc. (SWY)
  • Union Pacific Corp. (UNP)
  • UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH)
  • Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)

-Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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Great job Mr. President Obama cleaning up the mess caused by the republicans and bush jr. Now people the most important thing is to save social security and medicare. If you are drawing a check from s.s. thank a democrat, if you want these programs to end vote republican. Think, you will get what you vote for.

July 18 2013 at 3:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

the ministry of dip_stix PROP-a-ganda IS AT IT AGAIN.

buurnankeee IS UNDER FIRE due to the amount of debt and the under reporting OF IT

this is from treasury direct . gov

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
07/12/2013 11,925,650,525,848.91 4,812,569,560,255.66 16,738,220,086,104.57

basically IT IS 4 BILLION A DAY.

as in WE,the people.

and THERE ARE CONFLICTING NUMBERS from different sites
and baaachman claims burrrnankeee hasn't been REPORTING IT
baaachman IS NOW investigated for other things most likely DUE TO THE LEAKS--

seems like ALL politicals HAVE STUFF ON THEM and are/have been blackmailed....or under threats of it...


July 17 2013 at 9:49 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to setanta54s_back's comment

so the USUAL dweebes drones and morons approve
of burrrrrrrnankeeeeeeeeeeeee's getting US ALL INTO BILLIONS OF DEBT
and propping up fraud street
and ALL
because baaaaachman has R after her name.

July 17 2013 at 11:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

When In reach the 10,000 th post do I get a savings bond?

July 17 2013 at 9:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

only is you post looooooooong and LOUD enuff for ariannUH and have a good atty to PROVE
YOU WERE going to GET PAID for blogging for her.

how'd that lawsuit go ? LM@O !

July 17 2013 at 11:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Pretty soon they'll use computer programs and artificial intelligence to cough out the job numbers. They will just set it to lie but none of us will be able to tell the difference because eveything will just stink anyway.

July 17 2013 at 9:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Summer is just about over. Back to school! Time for all those make believe jobs to fall off a cliff as the BLS scrambles to air brush yet another bad season.

July 17 2013 at 9:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The positive people seem to be doing negative things

July 17 2013 at 8:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Watch the thuggy crimes are rising with the stock market not that they care.

July 17 2013 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is sad to see a Market going up or down,only because Bernanke says this or that....We all know that the real economy fundamentals are bad,the little reasons other than the bond buying are all below historical standards....I wonder where the economy is doing ok? I guess we will keep on dancing

July 17 2013 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thefacts22's comment

uuuuuuuh burrnankee's doing more than yappin---billions are going right to fraud street to prop it up

economy's booming in other STATES where manufacturing and OIL are moving.

July 17 2013 at 9:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Does it really matter anymore? Each politician promises a return to good manufacturing but never really gets far. We'll be dead before they even figure out which hand to scratch their head with!

July 17 2013 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


July 17 2013 at 8:10 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to KING BEAR's comment

please copy/paste

July 17 2013 at 9:54 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply