Bernanke sees gains, though not without reservations


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the U.S. Congress that the economy is showing signs of improvement, though he couched his testimony with more caveats than are in the fine print of most promotions for time share resorts.

Are things getting better? The former chair of Princeton University's economics department seemed to be saying "yes" -- at least sort of. Spooked by Bernanke's reserve, investors responded to his testimony by pushing stocks down.

"Conditions in a number of financial markets have improved in recent weeks, reflecting in part the somewhat more encouraging economic data," he said in his written testimony. "However, financial markets and financial institutions remain under considerable stress, and cumulative declines in asset prices, tight credit conditions, and high levels of risk aversion continue to weigh on the economy."