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Stocks End Sharply Higher After Bernanke
26 Mar 2012 EDT - CNBC.com
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Stocks closed at session highs Monday, logging their best one-day rally in almost two weeks, boosted by Ben Bernanke's earlier comments that the Fed may continue its easy monetary policy if the jobs market continues to show signs of weakness.

Stocks are on track to post their best quarter since 1998.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 160.90 points, or 1.23 percent, to close at 13,241.63, led by JPMorgan and AmEx . Verizon was the only Dow component to end lower. The blue-chip index is on track to log its sixth-consecutive month of gains.

The S&P 500 jumped 19.40 points, or 1.39 percent, to finish at 1,416.51, posting its highest close since May 2008. And the Nasdaq rallied 54.65 points, or 1.78 percent, to end at 3,122.57, logging its best close since November 2000.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, closed near 14.

All 10 S&P sectors ended firmly in positive territory, led by health care and techs.

“The market is feeling more comfortable that Bernanke is not going to pull the rug out from underneath them and that they can really trust the rally,” said Carol Pepper, the CEO of Pepper International.

Bernanke said the U.S. economy needs to grow more quicklyif it is to produce enough jobs to further bring down the unemployment rate, which currently sits at 8.3 percent.

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