Stocks Extend Losing Streak after Bernanke

U.S. stocks extended their losing streak to a fifth session Tuesday, as investors turned downbeat late in the session following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 19.15 points, or 0.16%, to 12,070.81. The S&P 500 gave up broad gains to end down 1.23 points, or 0.10%, to 1,284.94. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.00 point, or 0.04%, to 2,701.56.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke noted Tuesday that the job market and the economy have weakened in recent weeks. But he said the main reasons are higher gas prices and the Japan crises — factors that should ease in coming months– and predicted growth would strengthen later this year. Bernanke made no mention of any new steps the Fed might take to boost the economy. The Fed chairman said the economy still needs the benefit of low interest rates.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged European countries and bondholders to prevent a “disastrous” default by Greece and pledged U.S. support to help tackle the country’s debt crisis.

Americans borrowed more money in April for the seventh straight month, but they cut back on using their credit cards. Consumer borrowing rose by nearly $7.2 billion, fueled by greater demand for school and auto loans, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday.

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