Stocks Post First Weekly Gain in Five

U.S. stocks finished sharply higher on Friday, with Wall Street tallying its first winning week in five, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled the economy is not in need of quick stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 134.72 points, or 1.21%, to 11,284.54, up 4.3% from last Friday’s close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 17.53 points, or 1.51%, to 1,176.80, a weekly rise of 4.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 60.22 points, or 2.49%, to 2,479.85, leaving it with a 5.9% weekly gain.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday stopped short of detailing further action to boost the U.S. recovery but said the central bank would consider what more it could do to fight high unemployment, giving some comfort to investors. Bernanke said the Fed had marked down its outlook for U.S. economic growth and announced it would extend its September policy meeting to two days to consider its options. However, he also said the onus for boosting long-term growth prospects lay at the feet of the White House and the U.S. Congress.

Hurricane Irene is set to lay siege to cities and states along the Eastern U.S. coast this weekend and it could continue to pummel their budgets long after its last raindrop falls.

Oil held above $85 per barrel Friday on news that the economy didn’t grow as fast as previously expected. Slower growth lowers energy demand. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell 8 cents to $85.22 per barrel in New York. Brent crude rose 86 cents to $111.48 in London.

After years of headaches and heartbreak, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) got the green light from the U.S. government on Friday to enter its 787 Dreamliner into commercial service to fly passengers.

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