Stocks Soar on Fedspeak

Stocks soared Thursday on soothing comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and the after-hours session was just as busy.

Bernanke said the economy remains resilient and longer-term inflation appears manageable, soothing words for investors who have been battered in recent weeks by hawkish comments from Bernanke and other Fed officials.

The news gave the major indexes some of their best two-day gains in recent years, as solid earnings news from Caterpillar and Bear Stearns helped.

Traders stayed active after the close. Oracle shares soared after the company raised guidance. Adobe shares fell on a warning. And Microsoft traded actively on news that Bill Gates will transition out of his role at the company over the next couple of years.

The Nasdaq soared 58 to 2144, the S&P 500 surged 26 to 1256, and the Dow gained 198 to 11,015. Volume rose to 2.74 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.28 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 26-6 on the NYSE, and 25-6 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 95% on the NYSE, and 93% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 26-118 on the NYSE, and 54-75 on the Nasdaq.

Inter-Tel gained 8% on a buyout offer.

SanDisk and Nvidia jumped on upgrades.

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