28 February 2013: Bernanke and data lift Wall Street

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Stocks rose on Wednesday with major indexes posting their best daily gains since early January, as Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, gave robust support for continued stimulus policy and data pointed to modest economic improvement. In his second day before a Congressional committee, Bernanke defended FED’s buying of bonds to keep interest rates low to boost growth. Bernanke’s comments helped market rebound from its worst decline since November. Dow Jones Industrial closed at a level not seen since 2007.

A relatively smooth auction of Italian government bonds further helped temper concerns about the country’s political deadlock. The Euro held its ground against both dollar and Japanese yen on Thursday. The common currency edged up 0,1% to USD 1.3147 after steep losses following the Italian elections. The Euro hit an eight-week low on 1.3018 on Tuesday. Solid sales of Italian government bonds yesterday helped soothe the jitters that the political deadlock could destabilize Europe’s second biggest sovereign debt market.

Strong US business spending data also boosted investors’ sentiment easing worries about looming US fiscal spending cuts and prompting the yen to resume its decent after a brief spell of sharp gains earlier in the week. In Washington positions between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders over the budget crisis hardened yesterday as last ditch talks to prevent harsh automatic spending cuts beginning March 1st, failed to make substantial progress.

British sterling (GBP) is still weak trading at 1.5169 against the dollar. The Australian dollar is stronger and oil has regained some ground. Brent crude is trading above USD 112 a barrel. Also gold is somewhat stronger trading close to the critical USD 1600 level an ounce.

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