US stocks surged to record after Yellen remarks

U.S. stocks advanced, sending benchmark indexes back to records, as investors speculated the Federal Reserve’s Janet Yellen will continue the central bank’s stimulus policy as chairman.

The S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 1,782 at 4 p.m. in New York, surpassing a previous high set on October 29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70.96 points, or 0.5%, to a record 15,821.63. Nasdaq added more than 1.1% to 3,965.57. About 6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges today, in line with the three-month average.

Shortly after stock markets opened benchmarks declined on the back of global losses, but pushed higher during the session as traders shifted their focus to a Thursday confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve. Traders said speculation that Ms. Yellen would state support for easy-money policies helped spark the markets push higher during the session.

Yellen, nominated to be the next chairman of the Fed, said the economy and labor market are performing “far short of their potential” and must improve before the central bank can begin reducing monetary stimulus.

“A strong recovery will ultimately enable the Fed to reduce its monetary accommodation and reliance on unconventional policy tools such as asset purchases,” Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairman, said in testimony prepared for her nomination hearing tomorrow before the Senate Banking Committee. “I believe that supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy.”

In corporate news, Tesla added 0.7% to $138.70. The stock erased 29% from September 30 through yesterday amid several reports of battery-related fires in Model S cars, and as the electric car-maker company posted third-quarter results that disappointed some investors.

General Motors Co. gained 4.9% to $38.44 after the Detroit-based car-maker that counts China as its biggest market said it will open a new headquarters in Singapore to oversee markets including Southeast Asia and India.

Macy’s rose 9.4% to a record $50.68. The second-largest U.S. department-store company posted third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as better local selections boosted sales, signaling stronger demand headed into the holidays.

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