Stocks Advance as Investors await Bernanke

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NEW YORK – Wall Street surged in early trading Monday as the credit markets showed signs of easing and investors awaited testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for a reading on the economy and battered financial system.

Investors have been shaken by the extreme volatility in trading over the past two weeks, but have become more hopeful that government measures to stabilize the financial system have begun to work. Strains in credit markets showed more signs of easing.

Bernanke, who appears Monday before the House Budget Committee, is scheduled to give lawmakers an update on the financial crisis. He is likely to once again put the country on notice that there won't be a quick fix while potentially leaving the door open for further interest rate cuts to provide some relief.

Wall Street was also digesting a raft of earnings reports on Monday to determine what chief executives feel about the future of their businesses.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 205.81, or 2.32 percent, to 9,058.03.

Broader indexes were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 23.17, or 2.46 percent, to 936.72. The Nasdaq composite index rose 28.74, or 1.68 percent, to 1,740.03.