The U.S. equity markets hit a positive stride by mid-morning following the release of optimistic economic data.
At 12:35 p.m.: DJIA: +1.01%, S&P 500: +0.90%, NASDAQ: +1.21%.
1) Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday morning. The 10-second takeaway, similar to the results of Tuesday’s hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, was that Bernanke remains a champion of quantitative easing. Rolling with the blows dealt by those who disagree with his policies (there are many), Bernanke dug a trench around the idea that the benefits of the Fed’s policy outweigh the risks.
Bernanke’s take is of the glass-half-full variety, describing the labor market as “improving gradually” though “generally weak.” Some early focus was given to the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate — which states that the FOMC will try to maximize employment and maintain moderate long-term interest rates — and the Fed’s decision to link its policy to these metrics…