Stocks finish higher after Bernanke speech

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. Many investors are already expecting that the Fed will not announce any major action on Aug. 31 to boost the economy. (Aug. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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It took a while, but investors eventually decided they liked what they heard from Ben Bernanke, and stock indexes rose enough Friday to put them into positive territory for August.

Stocks gyrated after the Federal Reserve chairman spoke on Friday morning. They first gave up their morning gains, then bolted to their highs for the day, before settling in-between. The Dow Jones industrial average, at one point up as many as 151 points, ended the day up 90.13 points at 13,090.84.

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Just after trading began, Bernanke said the Fed is ready to take action to help an economy that's "far from satisfactory."

Investors have been watching to see whether the Fed will buy more bonds to further lower long-term interest rates. Stocks fell initially, however, after it became clear that no such announcement was coming Friday.

Still, he said the Fed "should not rule out" new policies to improve the job market.

Stocks rebounded once investors parsed his comments.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.51 percent to 1,406.58. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.60 percent to 3,066.96. The Dow finished the month up 0.8 percent; the S&P 500 was up more than 2 percent; and the Nasdaq rose more than 4 percent. -- AP

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