U.S. stock indexes rose early Wednesday as investors considered Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's defense of the central bank's monetary policies.
In testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Bernanke said the Fed would stick to its benchmarks for a policy change -- unemployment at 6.5 percent or lower and inflation not over 2 percent per year -- although, he said, that could change as the economy picks up steam.
In midmorning trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average added 51 points, or 0.37 percent, to 13,951.13. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 5.93 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,502.87. The Nasdaq composite added 9.96 points, or 0.32 percent, to 3,139.66.
Investors shrugged off a Commerce Department report that said new durable goods orders declined 5.2 percent in January, a sharper drop than expected.
The 10-year U.S. treasury rose 7/32 to yield 1.863 percent.
Against the dollar the euro rose to $1.3104 from Tuesday's $1.3061. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 91.54 yen from 91.98 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.27 percent, 144.84 points, to 11,253.97.
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