International markets logged solid gains overnight amid positive developments in the US.
The Wall Street bulls got going after data showed a bigger-than-expected drop in weekly jobless claims. Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity also surged this month at the fastest pace since March 2011.
Stocks received a further boost from corporate giants, Morgan Stanley and United Health Group, which both reported quarterly profit that beat analyst estimates.
In Washington, Ben Bernanke wrapped up his two day testimony by declaring it was too early to determine whether the central bank needed to slow down stimulus.
The chairman’s comments in recent days have eased fears of a sudden end to quantitative easing, and helped drive the Dow and S&P500 to fresh all-time highs.
The Dow Jones added 78 points (+0.5%), closing at 15549. The S&P500 added 0.5% to 1689 whilst the Nasdaq eked out a one point gain to 3611.
Most commodities rose on the back of Bernanke’s dovish tone. Oil was a big mover after data showed weekly US crude inventories falling to their lowest levels since January. Crude for August delivery soared 1.5% to US$108.70 a barrel.
The greenback strengthened against most other currencies, rising above 100 yen as the positive US data boosted optimism in the world’s largest economy. There is no major economic data scheduled for release today.