The stock market started the week on a strong note. The Dow rose more than 100 points both Monday and Tuesday. While reports of increased home building and low inflation propelled some of the gains, some investors said the buying was driven by expectations that Bernanke would ease investor concerns that the Fed is poised to turn off its stimulus.
"If you look at how the market has reacted in the last two days, there is an expectation that it will be a somewhat calming message coming out of the Fed," said Maury Fertig, Chief Investment Officer at the investment adviser Relative Value Partners.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.21 percent from at 2.19 percent late Tuesday.
In commodities trading, the price of crude oil fell 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $98.56 a barrel. The price of gold rose $5.90, or 0.4 percent, to $1,372.80 an ounce. The dollar edged lower against the euro and the Japanese yen.
In other U.S. stock trading, the Nasdaq composite fell two points, less than 0.1 percent, to 3,479.
Among stocks making big moves:
— Sprint Nextel fell 20 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $7.11 after satellite TV operator Dish Network said late Tuesday that it wouldn't submit a revised bid for the wireless carrier.
— Adobe jumped $2.83, or 6.5 percent, to $46.19 after the software maker said that its Creative Cloud subscriptions continued to climb in its fiscal second quarter.
— FedEx gained $3.36, or 3.4 percent, to $102.80 after the company posted earnings that beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts.
— Men's Wearhouse fell 87 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $36.60 after the company dismissed its founder and executive chairman George Zimmer. The company also delayed its annual shareholders' meeting, which had been scheduled for Wednesday.