Did Bernanke Soothe Market Nerves?

Stocks rebounded on Wednesday as Ben Bernanke reminded Congress that the dreaded “taper” would be triggered by data rather than a date.

Wednesday’s big event was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Nobody seemed to care about the release of the Fed’s Beige Book on a day when Dr. Bernanke was making a live appearance. The Chairman’s testimony helped stocks ease out of Tuesday’s slump, after he repeated that the dreaded taper of the quantitative easing program would be triggered by stronger economic data than what we are currently seeing. Most of the questions from Committee members were focused on concerns of their preferred lobbyists, rather than the issue of cutbacks to the Fed’s bond-buying program.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) picked up 18 points to finish Wednesday’s trading session at 15,470 for a 0.18 percent advance. The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) rose 0.28 percent to close at 1,680. The Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) advanced 0.25 percent to finish at 3,085. The Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) climbed 0.36 percent to end the day at 1,042.

In other major markets, oil (NYSEARCA:USO) surged 0.85 percent to close at $37.80. On London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange, September futures for Brent crude oil advanced by 52 cents (0.48 percent) to $108.66/bbl. (NYSEARCA:BNO). August Gold Futures declined by $16.20 (1.26 percent) to $1,274.20 per ounce (NYSEARCA:GLD). Transports fired-up their Sabre engines on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Transportation Average (NYSEARCA:IYT) accelerating 0.90 percent.

In Japan, stocks advanced as the yen weakened to 99.51 per dollar during Wednesday’s trading session in Tokyo. A weaker yen causes Japanese exports to be more competitively priced in foreign markets (NYSEARCA:FXY).. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.11 percent to 14,615 (NYSEARCA:EWJ).