U.S. stocks are trying to hold onto gains today (Wednesday) after another round of earnings reports and testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Bernanke spoke before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and did not diverge from his non-committal message a day earlier on whether or not the Fed would provide more stimulus.
Economic reports today include housing starts for June, which rose 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units, the highest level since October 2008. Thanks to record low interest rates, applications for mortgages rose last week as many homeowners try to refinance.
But, it was not all good news from the Commerce Department as new permits for building homes dropped 3.7% in June to a 755,000 unit pace.