The markets finished with modest gains for the second consecutive session today. Investors, still digesting yesterday's testimony by Fed chief Ben Bernanke, shook off bad news on employment and got a lift from the tech sector. The Dow gained 20.20 points to finish at 12,626.03, the Nasdaq closed up 1.90 to 2,363.30, and the S&P 500 gained 1.78 to finish at 1,369.30.
"The market right now is really looking three to six months out," one analyst told the Wall Street Journal. Stocks slumped early on news that the number of jobless claims rose to a two-year high. But good news from Alcoa, Merill Lynch, and Micron Technology helped turn the day around. Another closely watched unemployment report is due tomorrow.