* Dow, S&P 500 on pace for record closing highs
* Bernanke comments ease fears of stimulus cuts
* AMD jumps after upgrade, SOX near 6-yr high
* RadioShack tumbles after report
* Indexes up: Dow 1.1 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1.5 pct
By Alison Griswold and Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, July 11 U.S. stocks rallied on
Thursday, boosting the S&P 500 above its record closing high, a
day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reasserted that
monetary policy will remain accommodative for some time.
Bernanke said after the market close on Wednesday the U.S.
unemployment rate of 7.6 percent overstated the health of the
job market. A highly accommodative policy is needed for the
foreseeable future," he said, triggering a rally in equity
After hitting a record high on May 21, the S&P 500 in June
posted its first negative month in eight after Bernanke hinted
the U.S. central bank could this year begin to wind down a bond
buying program partly responsible for the rally in stocks and
record low interest rates.
About 85 percent of shares on the New York Stock Exchange
were higher on Thursday and all 10 S&P 500 industry sectors
advanced, led by gains in materials and technology shares.
"Rather than being hawkish, Bernanke is saying the right
thing that the market wants to hear," said Yu-Dee Chang, chief
trader of ACE Investments in McLean, Virginia.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 168.93 points
or 1.1 percent, to 15,460.59, the S&P 500 gained 21.71
points or 1.31 percent, to 1,674.33 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 54.24 points or 1.54 percent, to 3,575.
In late June, the S&P had fallen as much as 5.8 percent from
its closing high of 1,669.16. Gains have come on optimism over
improving economic data, anticipation of a better-than-expected
earnings season and reduced concern about cuts to the Fed's $85
billion in monthly bond purchases.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc jumped 10.6 percent to
$4.40 and was the S&P 500's top performer after Bank of America
Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock. The PHLX semiconductor index
rose 2.1 percent to its highest in almost six years.
Celgene Corp, up 7 percent to $133.78, was among
the top performers for both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100
after the company said a late-stage trial of a cancer
drug met the main goal of improving survival in newly diagnosed
blood cancer patients.
Microsoft Corp rose 2.7 percent to $35.64 after the
company announced a reorganization designed to streamline the
software company's operations.
RadioShack Corp lost nearly a fifth of its market
value after trade publication Debtwire reported the electronics
chain is considering hiring a financial adviser to help fix its
balance sheet. Shares were recently down 16.6 percent at $2.36.
Earnings reports are expected on Friday from JPMorgan Chase
& Co and Wells Fargo.
Thomson Reuters data show analysts expect S&P 500 companies'
second-quarter earnings to have grown 2.5 percent from a year
earlier, with revenue up 1.5 percent.