The stock markets in the United States gained today after Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen stated that the country’s economy still needs further support.

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During a speech in Chicago, Yellen emphasized that the existing labor condition are tougher than in any other recession. “The past six years have been difficult for many Americans, but the hardships faced by some have shattered lives and families. Too many people know firsthand how devastating it is to lose a job at which you had succeeded and be unable to find another; to run through your savings and even lose your home,” said Yellen.

According to her, the “extraordinary commitment” of the Federal Reserve through its bond buying program and extremely low interest rates are still necessary and will remain for some time.

Yellen explained that the growth of the U.S. economy is still “considerably short” of the target of the Federal Reserve. She signaled that the interest rates—at a minimum—will remain at near zero levels for an extended period.

Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird & Co., commented, “People thought the Fed was insinuating they were going to raise short-term interest rates sooner than anticipated. “Yellen’s comments probably lay that to rest.”

On the other hand, James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital management opined that any geopolitical risk calmed and he observed some economic momentum. According to him, “You take that combo package and say, do I really want to be short going into this jobs number? People are looking through the windshield and saying it looks like the economic data is going to pick up without weather distortion.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,458.88 (+0.83%)
  • S&P 500- 1,872.48 (+0.80%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,198.99 (+1.04%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,173.28 (+1.86%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,161.60 (-0.34%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,598.37 (-0.26%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,555.91 (-0.33%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,827.83 (+0.90%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,151.06 (+0.39%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,146.31 (-0.26%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) rose nearly 8% to $23.66 per share today. The stock was included in the Barron’s 400, an index based on growth-at-a-reasonable price investing. Micron Technology recently introduced its OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the microprocessor architecture. The company is one of a growing list of technology organizations that are collaboratively working to build advanced server, networking, storage and acceleration technology.

The shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) increased 1.71% to $40.99 per share driven by the recent executive changes implemented by CEO Satya Nadella to boost the software giant’s profitability. Nadella promoted Scott Guthrie as executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise business and Phil Spencer as head of Xbox business. He also announced the appointment of Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) as executive vice president of the devices group.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE:EW) gained 4.23% to $74.17 per share due to the results of recent trials for its transcatheter aortic valve replacement showing that it is might be a good option for patients with aortic stenosis. Wedbush expect that the transcatheter aortic valve replacement could boost the company’s penetration rate.