Stocks also rose Tuesday as above-consensus earnings reports helped investors move past an appearance by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill where he gave no indication that another round of quantitative easing was likely this summer. Bernanke was back on Capitol Hill Wednesday, delivering the same message to a House committee.
On the data front, there was more positive news for the housing market following the National Association of Home Builders report Tuesday of the monthly jump in homebuilder sentiment. The Department of Commerce reported that housing starts rose 6.9% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000, from May's upwardly revised 711,000. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a June pace of 745,000.
Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management, while finding the housing market data heartening, was already mentally moving on to tomorrow's initial jobless claims report.
"Employment -- whether claims, new jobs, unemployment -- the employment picture is much more important than housing," he emphasized. "Employment is really the central thing... It also seems to be the one that the
Federal Reserve, particularly Bernanke, is putting
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