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US futures edge up; Bernanke back before Congress

Wednesday - 2/27/2013, 10:12am  ET

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is seen on a monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The Federal Reserve's low interest-rate policies are giving key support to an economy still burdened by high unemployment, Bernanke told Congress on Tuesday. Bernanke signaled that the Fed's efforts to keep borrowing costs low will continue. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. futures rose Wednesday on reassurances from the U.S. central bank that the low-interest rate policies will continue.

There was also some positive data from the manufacturing sector.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 17 points to 13,876. The broader S&P futures added 1.5 points to 1,493.90. Nasdaq futures gained 4.25 points to 2,712.

Markets were rattled one week ago when the minutes from the Federal Reserve policy meeting in January left the impression that some bank officials had grown leery of ongoing stimulus programs.

But in subsequent days, Fed officials appeared to walk back from the perception that the minutes had left. On Tuesday, Bernanke said that the bond-buying program that has pumped billions into the economy has been a success and gave no indication that the Fed would release those levers any time soon.

Bernanke is testifying Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.

Also on Wednesday, a report from the Commerce Department revealed a spike in orders for factory goods in January, suggesting that businesses are growing increasingly optimistic.

Orders for so-called core capital goods, which include machinery, equipment and software, rose 6.3 percent in January from December, the largest increase in more than a year.

Target beat Wall Street profit expectations for the fourth quarter, but shares dipped before the opening bell because its gross margins -- the percent of each dollar of revenue that a company keeps -- are slipping.

Retailers are being watched closely to gauge how a hike in the U.S. payroll tax is affecting consumers.

Dollar Tree also beat expectations for the final quarter of the year and shares jumped 4 percent in premarket trading.


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