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With under an hour to go until the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow was trading up 1.08% or 165 points at 15,457 and the S&P 500 had risen 1.3% or 21.5 points to 1674.1. At those levels, both indices are set to close above their previous all-time closing highs.
This is the sixth session in a row in which the S&P has made gains. The small-cap Russell 2000 set a new all-time high for the fourth day in a row.
After much debate over what the Fed’s intentions are, despite the attempts from various Fed officials to provide clarity, Ben Bernanke’s speech last night took a clearly dovish tack. He said policy would remain highly accommodative for the foreseeable future, that inflation was too low, and that if unemployment drops to the threshold of 6.5% it would not necessarily trigger a tightening in policy.
Although Alcoa kicked off the second-quarter earnings season on Monday, reporting has been slim since then. That will change tomorrow when Dow-component JP Morgan releases its latest set of figures, along with financial services giant Wells Fargo. JP Morgan is expected to report earnings of $1.44 per share, while Wells Fargo is projected to make $0.93 per share. Both are such big players in the financial sector that good results from them should bode well for other blue chips in the same sphere.