Wall Street closes stronger

Biotech stocks rebound as Yellen's rate comments drive stocks higher.

US stocks closed sharply higher as tech stocks recovered from a challenging week and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen downplays the likelihood of interest rate rises in the near future.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 134.60 points, or 0.82%, at 16,457.66.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 14.72 points, or 0.79%, to 1,872.34, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 43.24 points, or 1.04%, to 4,198.99.

The rebound in the Nasdaq was a welcome move for beaten down tech stocks after the index had underperformed both the Dow and S&P 500 for each of the past six trading days.

Among stocks benefitting most were Facebook (up 1%) and Microsoft (up 3%), though many of the heavyweights, including Google and Apple, were stagnant. As a result, it was biotech stocks that appeared to be the biggest drivers of the reversal in the Nasdaq's fortunes.

In broader economic news, Ms Yellen talked down the US economy, explaining that extraordinary Fed stimulus was still required given several data reads were more suited to a recession than economic recovery.

"While there has been steady progress, there is also no doubt that the economy and the job market are not back to normal health," she said.

"The recovery still feels like a recession to many Americans, and it also looks that way in some economic statistics."

The market took this as a positive as it suggested interest rate rises were not on the near-term agenda.

Elsewhere, there was little in the way of data in the US, though soft inflation numbers in the eurozone forced shares lower in Europe.

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