* Yellen says some data weak, weather impact uncertain
* J.C. Penney, Best Buy shares rally after results
* Dow up 0.5 pct; S&P 500 up 0.5 pct; Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Feb 27 U.S. stocks rose on Thursday
after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen offered
some relief to investors worried about the central bank's
tapering of economic stimulus.
Tech shares, including Apple Inc, helped lead the
advance, which pushed the S&P 500 above the 2013 year-end
closing level and within points of surpassing Monday's intraday
record high. The gains lifted the benchmark index into positive
territory for the year.
Addressing the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen said the Fed
would be on alert to make sure that recent signs of economic
weakness are due to cold weather and storms, rather than a more
"Yellen came in and did exactly what she was supposed to do,
and said, 'Listen, the weather is still a variable.' But she
made it clear the Fed is ready to stand up and do what's
necessary to continue to support the economy, and that's exactly
what Wall Street wanted to hear," said Adam Sarhan, chief
executive officer of Sarhan Capital in New York.
The theory that some recent lackluster data was due to the
weather rather than worsening fundamentals had helped investors
shrug off the recent weak economic numbers.
Retailers ranked among the top gainers for a third session,
with the shares of both J.C. Penney Co Inc and Best Buy
Co Inc jumping after the companies posted strong
results. Late Wednesday, J.C. Penney forecast more improvement
in its comparable sales and gross profit margin this fiscal
year. On Thursday, Best Buy reported adjusted earnings that
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.33 points or
0.46 percent, to 16,272.74. The S&P 500 gained 8.64
points or 0.47 percent, to 1,853.80. The Nasdaq Composite
added 29.969 points or 0.7 percent, to 4,322.033.
J.C. Penney shares surged 25.5 percent to $7.48 while Best
Buy advanced 0.9 percent to $26.06. The S&P retail index
was up 0.2 percent, adding to recent strong gains.
Among other big gainers, shares of Mylan Inc rose
10.1 percent to $56.59 after the U.S. generic drugmaker gave a
2014 forecast above Wall Street's estimates and said it plans to
make a "substantial" transaction this year that would add to