Strong earnings reports could only lift the stock market today up so much as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would not give in to the cries for more stimulus.
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Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee Bernanke gave his semi-annual monetary policy testimony and predicted slow growth for the U.S. economy. Bernanke said that reducing unemployment is going to be "frustratingly slow."
Bernanke repeated the Fed's mantra that if conditions deteriorate they will take appropriate measures when necessary. Some are beginning to wonder if QE3 will ever happen and how much worse things have to get before we see it.
The chairman did specify that if the labor market doesn't improve the central bank is prepared to act to boost growth.
Bernanke also commented that the looming "fiscal cliff" and the possibility that Europe's debt crisis will worsen remain significant risks.
He mentioned the Libor manipulation scandal and called the rate-setting system "structurally flawed." However he offered no explanation as to why the Fed didn't become more involved when it learned in 2008 that Barclays Plc (NYSE: BCS) was reporting false numbers.
Bernanke will speak again tomorrow morning before the House Financial Services Committee.