NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose on Friday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, expressing "grave concern" for the stagnating U.S. job market, said the central bank was prepared to take further steps to strengthen the economy if necessary. Though Bernanke, speaking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, dashed some hopes for a signal of quick action, his comments bolstered bets that the central bank was closer to providing more stimulus for an economy that is close to stalling.
Stocks had been flat for much of the week ahead of Bernanke's speech, though expectations of additional stimulus from the Fed helped the market this month. All three indexes posted gains for August. Oil rose above $114 a barrel in volatile trading on Friday, taking gains in August above 9 percent, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stopped short of signalling extra monetary easing was imminent but kept the door open for action.