Stocks Higher ahead Bernanke Speech

Stocks edged higher in early trading on Tuesday as traders were awaiting remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that could indicate whether the Fed will continue its loose-money policies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 42.95 points to 12,132.91. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 4.55 points to 1,290.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 5.11 points to 2,707.67.

The first opportunity for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to address the recent weak data will be Tuesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m., when he delivers a speech on the “U.S. economic outlook” in Atlanta, Ga. to the International Monetary Conference. Bernanke will take questions after his prepared remarks conclude.

Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said on Tuesday there was ample liquidity in the U.S. financial system and no need for the U.S. central bank to continue its extremely easy monetary policy.

The IMF’s release of its next block of aid for Greece still requires tough decisions to be taken by Europe, it warned on Tuesday, as ratings agencies and German banks cast doubt on one part of a planned second bailout.

Oil prices slipped below $99 a barrel Tuesday amid expectations that OPEC will raise its production quota this week. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for July delivery was down 47 cents at $98.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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