After a sharp selloff in mid-morning trading on Friday, stocks rebounded just as quickly, leaving major U.S. indexes in positive territory.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62 points or 0.6 per cent, to 11,211 – after being down more than 200 points earlier. The broader S&P 500 was up 8 points or 0.7 per cent, to 1,167.
The dip-and-bounce followed an important, and much-anticipated, speech from Ben Bernanke at 10 a.m. (ET), in which the Federal Reserve chairman failed to outline steps to stimulate the flagging U.S. economy but sounded somewhat optimistic that growth should resume in the second half of the year. He also left a September monetary policy meeting open as an opportunity to reassess the Fed's position.
Most of the 10 subindexes with the S&P 500 were higher, suggesting fairly broad gains – with economically sensitive stocks showing the biggest moves. Information technology stocks led the way, rising 1.6 per cent. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 1.2 per cent and energy stocks rose 1.1 per cent.
Defensive stocks lagged. Utilities fell 0.5 per cent and telecom services fell 0.2 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 25 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,260.
Information technology stocks, led by Research In Motion Ltd. , rose 2 per cent. Energy stocks rose 0.4 per cent and materials rose 0.1 per cent.
The index was weighed down by financials, which fell 1 per cent after Royal Bank of Canada reported disappointing third quarter results.