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Wall Street soared on Thursday, with the Dow and S&P logging fresh closing highs, as traders cheered dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 170 points, or 1.1%, to 15461, the S&P 500 rallied 22.5 points, or 1.4%, to 1675 and the Nasdaq Composite leapt 57.5 points, or 1.6%, to 3578.
The broad S&P 500 narrowly extended its winning streak to five days on Wednesday. Sentiment among world trading desks got a boost late Wednesday after Bernanke suggested the U.S. economy will be in need of aggressive monetary accommodation from the central bank for a long time to come. Indeed, the broad S&P 500 and the Dow both topped their record closing highs and eyed record intraday peaks.
"Thoughts of tapering have been banished to the outer darkness this morning, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke seemed to come down firmly on the side of additional stimulus in his speech last night," Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG said in a note to clients.
The speech ricocheted through many financial markets. The dollar recently sold off by more than 1% against a basket of world currencies that are tracked by the dollar index. That move helped gold prices zoom higher by $34.90, or 2.8%, to $1,282 a troy ounce. Traders also bid up U.S. Treasury bonds after a heavy selloff last week. The benchmark 10-year yield fell 0.043-percentage point to 2.571%.
Oil prices fell just slightly, with the benchmark U.S. contract recently dipping 57 cents, or 0.53%, to $105.97 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.8% to $2.99 a gallon.
There are two significant economic reports out at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The number of individuals applying for first-time jobs benefits rose to 360,000 last week from an upwardly revised 344,000 the week prior, according to the Labor Department. Economists expected claims to fall to 340,000 from a initially reported 343,000. Data focusing on the labor market have been a major focus on Wall Street of late, as the Fed has said it will keep easing until there is substantial improvement on the jobs front.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reports U.S. import prices fell 0.2% in June from the month prior, compared to expectations they would hold steady. Meanwhile, export prices slipped 0.1%, matching expectations.
The Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 0.9% to 2684, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.66% to 6548 and the German DAX rallied 1.1% to 8155.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up 0.39% to 14473 and the Chinese Hang Seng surged 2.6% to 21437.