Bank stocks rise as Fed maintains rate hike plans and companies post encouraging 2Q results

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Shares of banks rose Wednesday morning as Federal Reserve Chain Janet Yellen told Congress the central bank is likely to raise interest rates this year and as some of the largest banks reported encouraging second-quarter results.

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Yellen said she sees signs the economy is getting stronger and said the Fed will probably start raising interest rates later this year if those improvements continue.

The Fed's benchmark rate has been at almost zero since December 2008. If the Fed raises its rate, banks will be able to charge their customers higher interest rates on loans.

On Tuesday JPMorgan Chase posted a larger-than-expected profit and Bank of America said Wednesday that its profit more than doubled.