U.S. Stocks Surge After Fed Chief Reassures

NEW YORK (AP) -

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 192.98 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 15,994.77. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 19.91 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,819.75 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 42.87 points, or 1 percent, to 4,191.04.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery fell 12 cents to $99.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $2.75 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.03 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 25 cents to $4.82 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, gained 22 cents to $108.18 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought Tuesday to reassure investors that she will embrace the approach to interest-rate policy that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, pursued before he stepped down as chairman last month.

Yellen told Congress that if the economy keeps improving, the Fed will take “further measured steps” to reduce the support it’s providing through bond purchases.

In her first public comments since taking over the top Fed job last week, Yellen said she expects a “great deal of continuity” with Bernanke. She signaled that she supports his view that the economy is strengthening enough to withstand a pullback in stimulus but that rates should stay low to further improve a still-lackluster economy.