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U.S. stocks keep rising amid Yellen's testimony

Xinhua, February 15, 2017 Adjust font size:

U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday, with all three major indices refreshing record highs, as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's remarks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92.25 points, or 0.45 percent, to 20,504.41. The S&P 500 added 9.33 points, or 0.40 percent, to 2,337.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 18.62 points, or 0.32 percent, to 5,782.57.

Yellen said on Tuesday that the Fed will consider whether to raise interest rates at upcoming meetings.

"At our upcoming meetings, the (Federal Open Market) Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with these expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate," said Yellen in her testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

She gave an upbeat assessment of the economy, saying that the economy has continued to make progress toward the maximum employment and price stability objectives.

She emphasized that waiting too long to raise rates could force the central bank to raise rates more rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession.

Yellen acknowledged that the fiscal policy and other economic policies which might be introduced by the new Administration could affect the U.S. economic outlook.

On the economic front, the Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.6 percent in January, seasonally adjusted, beating market consensus of 0.3 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday.

"A 12.9 percent surge in gasoline prices caused the headline jump of 0.6 percent, the most since September 2012. Given that most of the upward price pressure is the result of raw materials prices returning from the depths of last year, the longer term market reaction continues to be wary but not alarmed," said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial. Endit