Updated from 1:13 p.m. EDT

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is in no hurry to raise interest rates. At least, that's the message economists took away from the Fed Chief's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee Wednesday.

"This is Greenspan saying we're not in any rush here," said Ethan Harris, senior economist at Lehman Brothers. "I thought this was a pretty dovish speech."

Investors rendered a mixed judgment. After falling precipitously after Greenspan's first day of testimony, the Dow managed only a 3-point gain Wednesday. The Nasdaq added 17 points, erasing about half its Tuesday tumble.

In prepared remarks, Greenspan acknowledged that the pace of economic expansion and the weak dollar were leading to some "price pressures," and he reiterated that the federal funds rate "must rise at some point." But he also said that inflation remains contained so far because productivity growth remains so strong and labor costs have not yet turned decisively upward.

Although the job market is improving, he noted that businesses are still exhibiting "cautious behavior" and said worker insecurity is high.

"Greenspan's comments weren't all that bad," said Gary Thayer, chief economist at A.G. Edwards. "He suggested that broad-based inflationary pressures aren't building, so it left the door open for the Fed to remain at least somewhat patient."

Thayer noted that if labor costs increase going forward or productivity growth begins to slow, "people will be more concerned about how long the Fed will wait."

After Greenspan's speech Tuesday, many investors were bracing for hawkish remarks on Wednesday. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Greenspan said deflation is no longer an issue and he noted that the banking industry is well prepared for a rise in interest rates.

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