Bernanke: QE2 has helped improve the stock market (by Ronald D. Orol)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday that a controversial $600 billion bond buying plan has contributed to a stronger stock market. "Our policies have contributed to a stronger stock market just as they did in March 2009 when we did the first iteration of this program," Bernanke said at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. forum on small businesses. "A stronger economy helps small businesses more than larger businesses. Interest rates are higher but that's mostly because the news is better. It has responded to a stronger economy and better expectations." The $600 billion bond buying plan follows a completed effort to buy $1.75 trillion in government bonds and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed mortgage securities.