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Street Shrugs at Bernanke

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave another speech today, and Wall Street simply shrugged, ending the day ever so slightly in the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.02% Thursday to close at 11,381.15, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.04% on the day to 1303.81. The Nasdaq Composite ended down 0.09% to close the day at 2183.75. The Treasury market continued to rally, as the 10-year note added 5/32 to yield a new five-month low, 4.73%

Bernanke did not reveal clues about future policy decisions, which only fueled Wall Street's growing belief that the Fed is done raising interest rates and the economy is not falling off the proverbial cliff. Indeed, some say things may not even be as bad in the much-maligned housing sector as many contend.

What Gentle Ben did say before a business leadership group in Greenville, S.C., supports his belief that the economy is headed for a soft landing with only modest inflation. Much like the traders on Wall Street, the Fed chief shrugged off a recent downward revision in productivity figures, saying the nation's workforce appears as industrious as ever.

"A case can be made that the strong productivity growth of the post-1995 era is likely to continue for some time," he says, adding that he expects productivity to continue to rise at an average pace of 2.5%.
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