The Fed's Bullard said he believed quantitative easing would be needed into the second half of 2013 -- a comment that would deflect worries that scaling back of easing would come in the short-term.
"We need powerful and continuing monetary accommodation,"
. "Unemployment is far too high and inflation is too low."
Economic news from Europe was relatively calm, though the FTSE 100 in London and the DAX in Frankfurt both posted losses of more than 1% on Thursday. European equity market pressure followed the first trading session since the U.S. Fed revealed increased consideration of scaling back its purchasing of mortgage-backed securities and longer-term Treasuries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday that the consumer price index for January remained unchanged from the prior month's flat reading. Economists were expecting inflation to rise 0.1%. The core rate, excluding food and energy, rose 0.3%.
"There's nothing concerning about the inflation picture at this point, and the core number indicates that we're getting further away from that deflationary scare that I think [Ben] Bernanke is still a little bit worried about," said Brad Sorensen, market and sector research director at Charles Schwab. "Prices are moving somewhat higher at the core level, but not at a concerning rate."
Gold is seen by many investors as a key asset to own amid a rise in inflation.
Gold mining stocks were mostly higher on Thursday. Shares of
(AUY - Get Report)
were soaring 5.5%, while shares of
(AEM - Get Report)
was popping 5.3%.
Among volume leaders,
(ABX - Get Report)
was ticking up 0.63%.
SPDR Gold Trust
iShares Gold Trust
were rising 0.92%.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.