The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 286 points Wednesday and tacked on 65 more this morning.
In remarks today, Bernanke stuck to his April forecast that growth will continue at a moderate pace. He said the recovery had been bolstered by consumer spending, thanks to lower gasoline prices.
Business caution continued to restrain the economy, Bernanke noted. He said some of the apparent slowing in economic data, including last Friday's weak jobs number, might stem from unusually warm weather this past winter, which may have brought forward some investment activity.
Late Wednesday, Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy is still vulnerable and could warrant further stimulus.
On the data front, the count of first-time applicants filing for jobless benefits declined last week, with claims down to 377,000 from a revised 389,000 the week before.
In Wisconsin, the number of first-time unemployment claims filed last week rose to 9,733 from 9,518 in the prior week.