NEW YORK: The stock market keeps getting tossed around by the Fed.
Stocks opened lower Friday but reversed course after a letter surfaced from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggesting there was room for the central bank to do more to help the economy.
“There is scope for further action by the Federal Reserve to ease financial conditions and strengthen the recovery,” Bernanke wrote to California Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, in a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 30 points at its low but finished 100.51 points higher, at 13,157.97, its first gain all week. It was still the first losing week for the Dow since early July.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9.05 to 1,411.13 but also snapped a six-week winning streak. The Nasdaq composite index rose 16.39 to 3,069.79, ending five weeks of gains.
In a typically slow August, without much else to influence trading, investors have grasped for hints about what the Fed might do.
The Fed has several options, including buying bonds, as it has done twice since the 2008 financial crisis, to try to lower interest rates and drive investors into the stock market.
In trading, software maker Autodesk skidded more than 15 percent, falling $5.58 to $30.13, after weaker-than-expected second-quarter results. The company is restructuring to shift to cloud and mobile computing, but it also blamed an “uneven” global economy.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly jumped more than 3 percent, rising $1.46 to $43.86, after reporting promising signs about a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.