Stocks Gain as Yellen Signals Support for Continued Stimulus

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. markets moved higher Thursday as Janet Yellen, likely to win confirmation for the top post at the Federal Reserve, said the economy continues to need monetary support, bolstering expectations for prolonged stimulus measures. 

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 1,790.62 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% to 15,876.22. The Nasdaq reversed earlier losses, adding 0.2% to 3,997.74.

In the absence of major economic data, markets have been more reactive to earnings, with disappointing results from Cisco (CSCO) and retailer Kohl's (KSS) dampening sentiment. Cisco was dropping 12% to $20.08 after the networking-equipment giant posted fiscal first-quarter revenue that missed Wall Street estimates, dragged down by sluggish technology spending that has also affected rivals.

The S&P 500 was rising 0.22% to 1,785.89 mid-morning while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.15% to 15,844.69. The Nasdaq was off 0.07% to 3,962.84. 

Wal-Mart (WMT) shares were edging up 0.09% to $78.98 despite disappointing top-line sales for the third quarter. Total revenue rose an anemic 1.7% to $115.7 billion. Analysts were expecting the company to post revenue of $116.8 billion. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailing giant reported net income of $3.7 billion, or $1.14 a share, beating consensus estimates by a penny. 

Kohl's posted disappointing third-quarter results, falling short of earnings expectations by 5 cents at 81 cents a share as same-store sales at the department store operator fell 1.6% and contributed to a revenue miss. Shares were diving 8.75% to $53.25. 

Technology shares were also affected by tepid sentiment, with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) down 5.59% to $25.01. The company recently halted sales of its Chromebook 11 computer after reports that chargers had been overheating. 

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