US stocks rise ahead of Bernanke speech

US stocks rise ahead of Bernanke speech

NEW YORK - US stocks Friday moved higher ahead of a series of appearances by top US Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Ben Bernanke.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 69.33 (0.42 per cent) to 16,510.68.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 5.97 (0.33 per cent) to 1,837.95, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.36 (0.15 per cent) at 4,149.43.

Friday's early gains partially offset Thursday's losses in the first trading session of the year, after the spectacular equity rally of 2013. Analysts attributed Thursday's fall to profit-taking.

Bernanke, in his final month as head of the US central bank, was scheduled to speak at a conference on economics in Philadelphia Friday afternoon, amid hopes he will provide some hints on the direction of monetary policy.

Drugstore chain Ride Aid shot up 7.1 per cent after reporting that same-store sales for December rose 2.9 per cent over the prior-year period.

Delta Air Lines rose 3.8 per cent after reporting that a key revenue-per-passenger benchmark rose 10 per cent in December compared with a year ago. Delta said it benefited from "continuing strong demand."

Food company General Mills gained 0.2 per cent afer announcing that it would produce Cheerios cereal without genetically modified ingredients in the US.

FireEye, which provides security to information technology systems, surged 26 per cent after announcing it was acquiring another security company, Mandiant, for about $1 billion. FireEye said the deal would improve its capacity to detect and respond to incidents.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year bond rose to 3.00 per cent from 2.99 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year increased to 3.94 per cent from 3.92 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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