Stocks are continuing to show notable strength during early afternoon trading on Thursday, as investors react positively to comments from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and some mixed economic news. The strength in the markets is helping stocks add to their recent gains.

Many traders are focused on Capitol Hill, where Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is arguing that there need to be changes in how the government oversees risk-taking in financial markets. He is pushing for tougher rules on how big companies manage their finances as well as for tighter controls on some hedge funds and money-market mutual funds.

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Geithner outlined a broad plan to shore up the patchwork financial regulatory system, asking for the creation of a systemic risk regulator in order to oversee large financial institutions, like AIG.

The major averages have seen some further upside in recent trading, rising to new highs for the session. The Dow is currently up 106.17 at 7,855.98, the Nasdaq is up 40.36 at 1,569.31 and the S&P 500 is up 11.86 at 825.74.

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