* Fed chief reaffirms support for easy monetary policy
* Italian bond auction draws ample demand, reassuring
* U.S. business spending plans gauge hits one-year high
* Indexes: S&P up 0.7 pct; Dow up 0.8 pct; Nasdaq up 0.6 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Feb 27 Wall Street rose on Wednesday
as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his support
of the Fed's stimulus policy, the latest U.S. earnings showed
strength and an Italian bond auction drew ample demand,
In his second day before a congressional committee, Bernanke
repeated testimony in which he defended the Fed's policy of
buying bonds to keep interest rates low in order to promote
growth and bring down the unemployment rate.
Bernanke's similar remarks on Tuesday helped the market
rebound from its worst decline since November. The S&P 500
is now back above 1,500, a closely watched level that has
been technical support until recently.
"Bernanke comments will keep liquidity in place in the
market and every dip now is being viewed as an opportunity to
get in," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade
Financial markets had been worried about the possibility the
Fed would end its bond buying earlier than expected after Fed
meeting minutes showed some policymakers favored changes.
Also supporting the market, European stocks and the euro
rose on relief that Italy was able to sell bonds despite jitters
about the country's political instability.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.77 points,
or 0.70 percent, at 13,996.90. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
gained 11.93 points, or 0.80 percent, at 1,508.87. The
Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 30.75 points, or 0.98
percent, at 3,160.39.
The benchmark S&P 500, up 6 percent for the year, was within
reach of record highs a week ago, before the minutes from the
Fed's January meeting were released. Since then, the index has
shed 1 percent as the minutes raised questions about whether the
Fed may slow or halt its economy-stimulating measures soon.
In earnings news, discount retailer Target Corp
appeared poised for a solid showing in the first quarter and
forecast a higher profit for the full year after a weak
performance in the key holiday season. The stock was off 1.5
percent at $63.07.
Dollar Tree Inc reported a higher quarterly profit
as shoppers spent more and the chain controlled costs. The stock
jumped 10 percent to $45.00.
Shares of Boyd Gaming jumped 2 percent to $6.63
after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a revised online
A closely watched proxy for business spending plans jumped
6.3 percent in January, the biggest gain since December 2011,
data on durable goods orders showed on Wednesday.
Another report showed an index of pending home sales
increased 4.5 percent to its highest level since April 2010 -
just before the expiration of the home-buyer tax credit.