Stocks Opened Higher after Bernanke

U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the central bank would continue supportive monetary policies even as the unemployment rate improves. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately advanced 101.57 points to 13,182.30. The S&P 500 Index added 11.14 points to 1,408.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 25.89 points to 3,093.81.

Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. job market remains weak despite three months of strong hiring and that the Federal Reserve’s existing policies will help boost growth. Further job gains will likely require more robust consumer and business demand, Bernanke said Monday during a speech at the National Association for Business Economics spring conference in Arlington, Va. Bernanke’s comments suggest the central bank is prepared to keep interest rates near zero unless the economy improves substantially.

Yahoo Inc has appointed three new independent directors as it prepares for a proxy fight with activist hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb. John D. Hayes, chief marketing officer of American Express; Peter Liguori, former chief operating officer of Discovery Communications, and Thomas J. McInerney, the outgoing chief financial officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp will commence their tenure as directors effective April 5, Yahoo said in a statement on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said Germany may be open to boosting the overall size of the euro-zone bailout funds to around 700 billion euros ($930 billion), news reports said. Merkel said she backs allowing the temporary European Financial Stability Facility, which has provided around 200 billion euros in loans to bailout recipients, run alongside the permanent, 500-billion euro European Stability Mechanism, that is set to become operational at midyear, reports said.

The Ifo Institute’s German business climate index unexpectedly rose to 109.8 in March from a slightly upwardly revised 109.7 in February, news reports said Monday.

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