Stocks edged up Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the U.S. central bank had no firm timetable for cutting back on its bond purchases. Higher earnings for several major companies also helped stocks.
Stocks edged higher on Wall Street Monday on a surge in Boeing, after it was found that batteries were not the cause of a fire on one of its 787 aircraft at London's Heathrow airport last week. The gains continue a hot streak for stocks in July.
Stocks rose Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank will keep supporting the economy. Stocks that benefit most from a continuation of low interest rates, such as homebuilders, notched some of the biggest gains.
On Thursday, the latest words from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke pushed stocks up. Last month, he had the opposite effect. The aim is transparency, but some critics prefer the bygone days of the inscrutable Fed.
Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed to 4.51 percent this week, hitting a two-year high. Mortgage rates have been rising on expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases this year.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at an economic conference near Boston Wednesday, saying the Fed will continue to pour stimulus into the US economy — at least until unemployment and inflation improve.
Stocks barely reacted to the release of Federal Reserve minutes Wednesday. Major stocks were down just a fraction of a percent more than an hour after the Federal Reserve released a report on its latest policy meeting in June.