Stocks closed the week on a high note, as investors scrambling for good news found comfort in Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's vow to act if "unexpected developments" further threaten the shaky recovery. Mr. Bernanke's comments provided few surprises but reassured Wall Street in a week that had been packed with disappointing economic data, capped on Friday by a downward revision of how much the U.S. economy expanded in the second quarter and a revenue warning from bellwether chipmaker Intel.
"There's a perception here that things are better off than perhaps the market had priced," said Todd Colvin, vice president of MF Global, though he added: "That doesn't mean we're coming out of this any faster."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 165.14 points, or 1.7%, to finish near the day's high, at 10150.65. The blue-chip index had closed below 10000 on Thursday, giving bulls a base upon which to build Friday's rally—the biggest one-day advance since the beginning of the month. Still, the Dow fell 0.6% on the week and is on track for a 3% decline for August.
Investors pulled out of safe-haven Treasurys and embraced riskier commodities. The 10-year note fell, pushing its yield up to 2.654%. Crude-oil prices leapt above $75 a barrel, while copper prices rose. Gold also rose, and now is less than 2% away from the record. Technology stocks weighed heavily, with the Nasdaq Composite Index shedding 1.2% this week. Intel's warning was symptomatic of a broader malaise overhanging technology stocks. Even a fierce bidding war between Dell and Hewlett-Packard over data storer 3PAR wasn't enough to ignite the sector.
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