Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke didn't tip his hand as he delivered his assessment of the U.S. economy to Congress. He continued to keep the status quo while reminding lawmakers that the economy is still improving, just at a rate that still leaves a large contingent of American jobless or underemployed. The markets reacted with hysteria soon after Bernanke's address but quickly corrected with expectations of future stimulus.
Notes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting mentioned that the Fed decided to stay the course if GDP grow stayed between 1.9% and 2.4%. Investors are looking at the first-quarter GDP growth of 2%, coupled with Bernanke's prediction of even slower second-quarter growth, as justification for QE3 in the near future. For now, after the day's initial dip, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) rallied to finish the day up o.61%.
Today started off on an upbeat note as Goldman Sachs (NYS: GS) and Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) posted earnings that beat analyst estimates. The companies finished the day up 0.31% and 1.58%, respectively.
Goldman reported $972 million in earnings, or EPS of $1.78, handily beating estimates of $1.16 per share. However, the bank's profit plunged 12% when compared with last year's quarter. The drop can be attributed to worsening market conditions caused by European uncertainty and slowing economic growth.
Coca-Cola finished the past quarter down slightly on net income from one year ago, but it topped EPS expectations by $0.03. Net income for the quarter was $2.79 billion, for EPS of $1.21, as sales volume for the quarter grew by 4%, with international sales increasing at a greater clip than the 1% domestic increase.
After the markets closed, Intel (NAS: INTC) reported earnings that narrowly beat expectations. Shares are trading lower after hours -- not because of the EPS showing of $0.54, but because the chipmaker's third-quarter outlook is below estimates. Yahoo! (NAS: YHOO) also announced earnings that were 4.2% lower than the same quarter last year. However, the company beat estimates, bringing new CEO Marissa Mayer in on a good note.
Global slowdown rumors as well as QE3 expectations are going to increase volatility in the marketplace. It's important to remember that now is a great time for investors to be focusing on the long term and finding companies they can rely on to return capital for the long haul. Now would be an opportune time to check out The Motley Fool's special report describing 3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich. This free report will list three remarkable companies as well as offer great advice on how to invest to secure a comfortable retirement -- get your free report now.
The article QE3 Rumors Boost the Dow Again originally appeared on Fool.com.
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