U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, propelling the S&P 500 to a record close, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would probably continue tapering its asset purchases while tracking data to figure how much recent softness in the economy is due to the weather.
"Reduced tapering would be very negative to the market. We made a change in December to good news is good news," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.
For technical traders, "when you break through resistance which has taken a long time to get through, resistance becomes support," said Frederick of the S&P closing above 1,848.38, its prior closing high, set on Jan.15.
Appearing before the Senate in testimony delayed by a snowstorm, Yellen said the harsh weather could have played a role in the recent spate of tepid economic data.
"The market is of the opinion the weather has impacted business the last couple of months. When the weather is a little bad, and one or two retailers use it as an excuse, it tells you there's a problem with the one or two companies, but when 98 out of 100 tell you it's the weather, then you can believe it," said Doug Foreman, chief investment officer at Kayne Anderson Rudnick.