The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 surged to all-time highs yesterday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank will keep supporting the economy.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note continued to decline as investors bought bonds. Stocks that benefit most from a continuation of low interest rates, such as home builders, notched some of the biggest gains.

Bernanke made the comments in a speech late Wednesday after U.S. markets had closed, saying the economy needs the Fed's easy-money policy "for the foreseeable future." The U.S. economy needs help because unemployment is high, the chairman said.

His remarks seemed to ease investors' fears that the central bank will pull back on its economic stimulus too quickly. The Fed is currently buying $85 billion a month in bonds to keep interest rates low and to encourage spending and hiring.

The S&P 500 index jumped 1.4 percent to 1,675.02, surpassing its previous record close of 1,669 from May 21. The index rose for a sixth straight day.

The Dow rose 169.26 points to 15,460.92, above its own all-time closing high of 15,409 set May 28.

The Nasdaq composite rose 57.55 points, or 1.4 percent, to 3,578.30, its highest level in nearly 13 years.

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The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.57 percent from 2.63 percent Wednesday.