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Stocks gain despite negative reports

Stocks have risen in the past two days on bets that the Federal Reserve will do something to stimulate a slowing U.S. economy.

Despite two negative economic reports out today, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has gained 1.4 percent, and now sits at a two-month high. Positive earnings statements have also boosted the stock market in the past few days, according to Bloomberg. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and then before House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Bernanke told the committees that the Federal Reserve is ready to act if unemployment does not decrease. 

“Earnings reports have been positive, but weakening economic data has tempered investor enthusiasm,” said Walter Hellwig, of BB&T Wealth Management, in an interview with Bloomberg. “Always waiting in the background is the increasing possibility of another round of quantitative easing,”  

The Dow Jones industrial average also posted gains of about 37 points this morning, led by International Business Machines Corp.

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