This is an example of a long Video Title. There...
The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX +0.80%), which tracks the largest Nasdaq stocks, was up 9 points to 2,768. Apple (AAPL -0.11%), the biggest influence on the index, was down 72 cents to $663.15.
Commodity prices moved up with the cheer over Bernanke's speech. Crude oil (-CL) was up $1.62 to $96.24 a barrel in New York. Brent crude added $1.52 to $114.17.
The national average retail price of gasoline hit $3.829 a gallon, up from $3.826, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Seven states -- Hawaii, California, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, Washington and Oregon -- reported the average price was above $4 a gallon.
Gold (-GC) jumped $25.50 to $1,682.60 an ounce. There was chatter today that the metal could hit $1,900 by year-end.
The Fed's options
So, what could the Fed do? Analysts says the FOMC may announce a new round of so-called quantitative. Technically, this means purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities to reduce borrowing costs and spur investment.
Others expect instead it will announce its intent to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero beyond its current forecast of late 2014.
Bernanke offered a fairly robust defense of Fed's quantitative easing programs. The programs helped boost economic output by two percentage points, he said, and boosted employment by some two million jobs more that what might have occurred in the absence of any moves.
Bernanke's view is not universally shared. Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, have both argued against more Fed moves.
Europe starts the rally
European stocks were the initial catalyst for today's rally, with German and French stocks up better than 1%.
One reason was a story in the German newspaper Bild that Jens Weidmann, president of the German Bundesbank, had considered quitting rather than endorse a plan for the European Central Bank to buy bonds of troubled European countries.
That was a signal to some that the plan has traction and could be endorsed at an ECB meeting next week. But that decision won't have real teeth unless Germany's high court says it's legal for Germany to participate. A ruling is expected on Sept. 12.
Stocks may end the week higher
Today's rally may be enough to push major averages into the black for the week. The Dow is looking at a small decline, but the S&P 500 up very slightly and the Nasdaq is sporting a gain of 0.2% as of this morning.
There's a better chance, however, that the major indexes will end higher for August -- their seventh monthly gain in 2012 and tenth gain in the last 11 months. With Thursday's sell-off that pushed the Dow down 107 points, the blue-chips had been looking at a tiny loss for the month. But, with today's rally, the Dow may end August up 1%. The S&P is looking at a 2.3% gain for the month, with the Nasdaq up 4.6%.
All of the 30 Dow stocks were higher today,