Stocks Jump on Bernanke Assurances

U.S. stocks jumped early on Thursday, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke voiced support for ongoing monetary easing.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately jumped 132.20 points, or 0.86%, to 15,423.86. The S&P 500 index added 15.41 points, or  0.93%, to 1,668.03.The Nasdaq Composite rose 34.96 points, or 0.99%, to 3,555.72.

Bernanke, at an economic conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday, said a highly accommodative monetary policy was needed for the foreseeable future, and that the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.6 percent overstated the health of the job market.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, a potentially worrisome sign for the economy although the level still pointed to ongoing healing in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the Labor Department said.

The European Commission and U.S. regulators have agreed to apply rules for trading derivatives more flexibly and make it easier for international traders to do business. The agreement will help address a bone of contention in international trade between Europe and the U.S. as they embark on talks towards a landmark free trade agreement.

Costco Wholesale Corp. on Thursday reported that same-store sales for the five-week period to July 7 rose 6%, beating an analysts’ estimate from Reuters of a 5.4% rise.

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