New York: US stocks were little changed on Wednesday as caution before comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the economy and interest rates offset optimism over solid earnings news.
Shares of Wall Street firm jumped 9.8% to $27.68, their biggest one-day percentage gain since April 2009, after it reported higher-than-expected profit. Wells Fargo & Co bank rose 3% to $26.69 after its results.
Bernanke is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday afternoon, giving the Fed’s semiannual monetary report. Investors will seek clues on the Fed’s outlook for the economy after data indicated the recovery has slowed.
“They want to hear how he responds to (questions) and to see if there are ... any nuances” in the Fed’s thinking, said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Weighing on the Nasdaq were shares of Internet company Yahoo, which posted revenues a day earlier that missed Wall Street’s estimates. The results followed several revenue disappointments, including from computer services company IBM.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.36 points, or 0.01%, at 10,228.60. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 1.19 points, or 0.11%, at 1,082.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 7.09 points, or 0.32%, at 2,215.40.
Bernanke will begin at 2 pm (1800 GMT) and is also set to deliver the same report before a House committee on Thursday.
Some traders said stocks’ late rally on Tuesday came on speculation the Fed would try to spur lending by eliminating the interest paid on excess bank reserves held at the Fed.
Apple Inc jumped 2.8% to $258.92 after an unusually favorable revenue forecast late Tuesday calmed concerns that the iPhone 4’s antenna problems would dampen sales.