In Europe, traders sold equities, not wanting to carry too much risk ahead of the Fed Chairman’s potentially market shifting words.
The FTSE closed slightly lower (-0.02%), whilst the CAC (-1%) and DAX (-0.8%) lost significant ground.
Stateside, the Dow Jones added 135 points (+1.2%) whilst the broader S&P 500 added 1.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq surged 2.5%.
To say that markets rallied on Bernanke’s comments belies the volatility that surrounded his address.
When his remarks first hit the airwaves the Dow slumped 200 points, with traders and investors heading for the exit doors upon learning that there would be no QE3.
The reaction was immediate and sharp, with the index collapsing approximately 150 points in just six minutes.
After the initial panic, however, the market seemingly further unpacked Bernanke’s comments, honing in on his assessment that the economy has not deteriorated enough to need further stimulus.
This assessment fuelled appetites for higher-risk assets, including equities, sending US markets surging higher.
The US dollar fell against most of its major counterparts as equities rallied, whilst risk currencies like the Aussie, Kiwi and Loonie all gained ground.
Commodities were generally stronger on Friday night, with Gold rallying 1.9% to US$1797, whilst crude added 0.1%, to settle at US$85.37 a barrel.
In company news, NHC has made a $2 per share cash offer bid for Northern Energy.
Today session will bring us data in the form of HIA new home sales.