U.S. stocks shot into record territory Thursday after the head of the U.S. central bank hinted that its current unprecedented quantitative easing policy will not end any time soon.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking after the bank's key interest-rate setting panel issued a nondefinitive statement of its intentions, said that the current employment level is overstating the health of the job market.
That comment suggested the central bank would keep buying large amounts of bonds, a policy it has been pursuing to suppress long-term interest rates. That policy also has helped lift U.S. equities.
"What Mr. Bernanke said has global equity markets on cloud nine this morning," Patrick J. O'Hare of Briefing.com said Thursday morning. "The dovish signaling was a launching point overnight for the emerging markets, which have been under attack from capital flights to the U.S. It has the U.S. Dollar Index down 1 percent to 83.06, gold prices up 3.1 percent to $1,286.20 per ounce and the 10-year Treasury note up 10 ticks."
The S&P 500, which reflects the value of the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies, gained 22.40 points (1.35 percent) Thursday to close at 1,675.02. Its previous record high was 1,669.16, which it reached May 21.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which reflects the value of 30 top industrial U.S. companies, closed at 15,460.92, up 169.26 points (1.11 percent) above the prior day's close. The Dow's previous record high closing was 15,409.39, which it reached May 28.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended the day at 3,578.30, 57.54 points (1.63 percent) above Wednesday's finish. It reached its all-time closing high of 5,082.62 on March 10, 2000.