NEW YORK (AFP) – U.S. stocks Thursday surged higher, following global equity markets that greeted fresh comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that monetary policy would remain accommodative until the economy improves.
About 45 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 143.84 (1.00 percent) to 15,435.50.
The broad-based S&P 500 rocketed 17.25 (1.04 percent) to 1,669.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 39.19 (1.11 percent) to 3,559.95.
Bernanke, responding to questions following a speech in Boston, said highly accommodative monetary policy was needed “for the foreseeable future” given the weak labor market and low inflation.
Bernanke’s comments made clear that while the Fed may taper its bond-buying program this year, such a move did not imply a rise in interest rates.
Leading Asian equity markets rose as did European exchanges, with Germany’s DAX index up 1.0 percent and France’s CAC 40 index up 0.6 percent.
The jump in stocks came despite a rise in initial U.S. jobless claims to 360,000 in the week ending July 6, above the 345,000 expected by analysts.