As of 1:46 pm, all three indexes on Wall Street are in the green Thursday with the Dow Jones industrials average up about a third of a percent, while the broader indexes – NASDAQ and S and P 500 are up 0.13 percent and 0.31 percent respectively.
Financials are up 0.7 percent and is seeing much of the buying interest of the day.
Bad news of the day – initial figures representing jobless claims until March 29th surged to 407,000 from 369,000. That news pretty much kept indexes where they were until noon.
Also of interest today, Fed chief Ben Bernanke testified on Capitol Hill defending his position that the Federal Reserve assisted a Wall Street bank, Bear Stearns, on the brink of bankcruptcy.
"Given the exceptional pressures on the global economy and financial system, the damage caused by a default by Bear Stearns could have been severe and extremely difficult to contain," Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee in sworn tetimony, the Associated Press reports.
Bear Stearns, the country’s fifth largest investment bank was one of the biggest victims of the credit crisis that has wrenched markets since August. The hearing was set to validate the Federal Reserve’s position to put forward up to $30 billion in the sale of Stearns to JP Morgan & Chase. Bernanke was the top witness at the hearing.
Expressing his optmism for the country’s economy, Bernanke was quoted as saying by MarketWatch, "Clearly, the U.S. economy is going through a very difficult period. But among the great strengths of our economy is its ability to adapt and to respond to diverse challenges. Much necessary economic and financial adjustment has already taken place, and monetary and fiscal policies are in train that should support a return to growth in the second half of this year and next year. I remain confident in our economy’s long-term prospects."