US Stocks rose as markets opened on Friday, heading towards their biggest weekly gain since March, following comments made by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke late yesterday that boosted expectations for another interest-rate cut in the near future.
Speaking Thursday evening in Charlotte, N.C., Bernanke said economic data reviewed in upcoming days will determine whether the Fed cuts rates ahead of a Fed meeting on December 11.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that growth in consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in October, and incomes grew at 0.2 percent, less than expected.
Bernanke said ongoing tough credit conditions, the housing slump and high energy prices will most likely create some headwinds for the consumer in the months ahead.
Bernanke said the U.S. central bank will have to be exceptionally alert and flexible, mirroring comments made by Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn earlier this week. The comments have set the stage for a potential cut in rates which has helped Wall Street recover some of its recent losses.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 124.53 points, or 0.94 percent, at 13,43.26 at 10:39 a.m. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 15.27 points, or 1.04 percent at 1,484.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 14.15 points, or 0.53 percent to 2,682.28.
A snapshot of the markets this week shows that S&P 500 has added 3.2 percent and the Dow average has gained 3.6 percent, while the Nasdaq has risen 3.8 percent. The Dow has dropped 3.4 percent in November, while the S&P has lost 4 percent.