Page 2 of 2 Previous
"The Bernanke qualifications have taken the interest rate risk off the table and now it's really about what will earnings say," said Jonathan Lewis, chief investment officer at Samson Capital Advisors.
Corporations began reporting earnings this week for the second quarter, which ended 11 days ago. S&P Capital IQ forecast that companies in the S&P 500 will report average earnings growth of 3 percent compared with the second quarter last year.
The price of gold gained for a fourth straight day, climbing $32.50, or 2.6 percent, to $1,279.90 an ounce. Gold has rebounded this week after falling close to a three-year low.
Gold is rising because the prospect of continued stimulus from the Fed could weaken the dollar and increase the risk of inflation. That, in turn, increases the appeal of gold as an alternative investment.
The rise in gold helped mining stocks. Newmont Mining Corp. gained $1.51, or 5.7 percent, to $28.12. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rose $1.24, or 4.6 percent, to $28.53.
In other commodity trading, oil fell back from a 16-month high, dropping $1.61, or 1.5 percent, to $104.91 a barrel.
Among stocks making big moves:
— Bridgepoint Education Inc. rose $3.31, or 26 percent, to $15.92, after the for-profit education company said its Ashford University had won accreditation. Bridgepoint, which also operates the University of the Rockies, struggled with accreditation problems for much of 2012.
— Rockwell Medical Technologies Inc. jumped 59 cents, or 15.7 percent, to $4.35, after the drug developer said an experimental treatment for kidney patients took a step toward winning approval.
— Celgene Corp. rose $9.84, or 7.9 percent, $134.90 after the New Jersey drugmaker said its cancer drug Revlimid met its goals in a late-stage study.
— Microsoft Corp. rose 98 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $35.69, after the company announced a major reorganization. The world's largest software maker has been struggling with a steady decline in PC demand as people turn to tablets and other mobile devices.