(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended in green as investors reacted positively to a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who reiterated that the central bank remains ready to act "as needed" to spur growth.
S&P 500 Index rose 0.51 percent to finish at 1,406.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.69 percent to end at 13,090.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.60 percent to close at 3,066.96.
The Fed chief, though, did not specifically signal of further monetary easing. Bernanke addressed the Fed's annual symposium Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
On the data front, a Commerce Department report showed factory goods orders rebounded in July, increasing 2.8 percent last month after a 0.5 percent decline in June and topped economists expectations of a 2.0 percent advance.
The Institute of Supply Management-Chicago's business survey for August showed business activity in the Midwest was slightly short of expectations, with a reading of 53.0 for August down from 53.7 in July and expectations of 53.5.
A Reuters and the University of Michigan survey showed the consumer sentiment index for August came in at 74.3, versus expectations for the reading to remain at 73.6.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: ZUMZ, FB, NAV, SPLK, ESL, OVTI, SAI
In corporate news, Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) slumped as much as 11.4 percent after the retailer of sports-related apparel issued a downbeat earnings view for the third quarter following a decline in second quarter earnings on higher expenses. The company also posted lower-than-expected monthly comparable sales. Shares closed 9.40 percent lower.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) fell 5.28 percent to a new low amid worries about the social-networking company's advertising sales. BMO Capital Markets and BofA Merrill Lynch reduced their price targets on the stock. eMarketer reduced FB's ad revenue estimate by $1 billion for this year.
Navistar International Corp. (NYSE:NAV) gained 2.38 percent after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to allow the truck maker to continue selling engines that does not does not meet current emissions standards. But the regulator increased the penalty that Navistar must pay to sell such engines to $3,744 per engine, nearly double the fine of $1,919 the company had been paying.
Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLK) soared 13.64 percent after the provider of data-analysis software issued an upbeat revenue forecast for the third quarter and raised its full-year revenue view.
Esterline Technologies Corp. (NYSE:ESL) surged 12.79 percent after the maker of engineered systems for aerospace and defense markets issued guidance for the fourth quarter that came in above market expectations.
OmniVision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:OVTI) gained 2.14 percent after the maker of image sensors lifted its revenue forecast for the second quarter following better-than-expected first quarter revenue.
SAIC Inc. (NYSE:SAI) added 3.39 percent after the McLean, Virginia-based provider of cyber security services announced its plan to separate SAIC into two independent, publicly traded companies. The company also posted stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue.
European markets ended slightly mixed, with Germany's DAX adding 1.09 percent to close at 6,970.79. France's CAC40 declined 1.00 percent to finish at 3,413.07. U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.14 percent to end at 5,711.48.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dipped 0.25 percent to finish at 2,047.52. Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 1.60 percent to end at 8,839.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.36 percent to end at 19,482.57. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,380.75, down 0.92 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures jumped 1.82 percent to $96.340 per barrel and natural gas futures added 1.86 percent to $2.799 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures surged 2.23 percent to $1,694.1 per ounce and silver futures soared 4.02 percent to $31.67 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.60 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2581. The British pound rose 0.58 percent against the greenback to 1.5878, while the dollar shed 0.43 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.2900.