Wall Street advances as Yellen keeps Fed policy intact

Washington (Feb 11)  U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday after new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reinforced the central bank's plan to trim its market-friendly stimulus, while also noting labor market conditions needed to improve.

In her first public comments as Fed chief, Yellen emphasized continuity in the Fed's policy strategy, saying she strongly supports the approach of her predecessor, Ben Bernanke.

"They are apparently loving what Janet Yellen has to say which is really, ‘hold the course steady, here is what I am.' She is not any different than what they expected her to be," said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

The gains helped push the S&P 500 through its 50-day moving average for the first time since January 24, a technical resistance level which that fuel further gains if it's is convincingly held.

"They challenged the 50-day moving average, now it depends if we hold up through there today, it will give them every opportunity to try to challenge the (record) high - which isn't necessarily coming in a day or two - but if we hold up through the 50-day there is a real possibility that it goes there."

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 133.67 points or 0.85 percent, to 15,935.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 13.44 points or 0.75 percent, to 1,813.28 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 25.71 points or 0.62 percent, to 4,173.884.

The central bank has cut its bond-buying program by $10 billion at each of its last two meetings, reducing the monthly purchases to $65 billion.

Stocks also saw a potential headwind removed when Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives caved in to demands by President Barack Obama and agreed to advance legislation raising Washington's borrowing authority.

(Source Reuters)