Mr. Bernanke's testimony was viewed as dovish by the markets, with the 10-year Treasury yield dropping about nine basis points, to a low of about 2.47 percent.
Major stock indices are up, with advancing stocks outnumbering declining by 2-1.
Bernanke emphasized that "the economy remains vulnerable to unanticipated shocks, including the possibility that global economic growth may be slower than currently anticipated."
He emphasized the end of bond purchases was entirely dependent on the economic data: "...if the outlook for employment were to become relatively less favorable, if inflation did not appear to be moving back toward two percent, or if financial conditions-which have tightened recently-were judged to be insufficiently accommodative to allow us to attain our mandated objectives, the current pace of purchases could be maintained longer."
He also emphasized the FOMC may not raise rates, even if the target of 6.5 percent unemployment is reached: "If a substantial part of the reductions in measured unemployment were judged to reflect cyclical declines in labor force participation rather than gains in employment, the committee would be unlikely to view a decline in unemployment to 6.5 percent (unemployment rate) as a sufficient reason to raise its target for the federal funds rate."