U.S. Stocks Open Higher On Yellen Comments, Energy Strength

By Ryan Vlastelica Markets MarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, in prepared congressional testimony, said interest rate increases would be gradual and that they wouldn't need to rise much further. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 82 points, or 0.4%, to 21,497. The S&P 500 added 10 points to 2,436, a gain of 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 46 points to 6,240, a rise of 0.8%. Stocks have been supported by low rates over the past several years, and abrupt changes to that environment could lead to volatility in equities. Also boosting stocks was the energy sector, which gained alongside a 2% jump in the price of crude oil. Among the biggest gainers, Chesapeake Energy Corp. added 1.7% while Exxon Mobil Corp. was up 0.8%.

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