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Stocks up a tad after Yellen’s House remarks

Stocks are inching further into the black Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite eyes 5000 while investors ponder Janet Yellen’s remarks in a second day of Capitol Hill testimony. As of 1:55 p.m. ET, the Nasdaq composite is up 0.3% — and just 18 points shy of 5000. The benchmark last reached that level 15 long years ago, in those magic days before the bursting of the tech-dotcom bubble.2013-11-04T131020Z_8_CBRE99U0VX000_RTROPTP_3_MARKETS-STOCKS_original

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 are each up 0.2%. Any gain for the Dow or the S&P 500 puts those benchmarks above their record closes. And any gain for the Nasdaq by the closing bell will put its win streak at 11 straight days. Stocks closed at new highs Tuesday as investors reacted positively to remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Yellen and Greece won EU approval for its proposed budget reforms. Yellen spoke Tuesday before the Senate banking committee.

Investors are monitoring another Yellen appearance Wednesday on the other side of Capitol Hill, as she addresses a House committee. Target shoppers delivered strong sales for the retailer in the fourth quarter but the company’s earnings fell as it prepares to dissolve its business in Canada. TGT shares are up a little on the news. At home-improvement giant Lowe’s, sales at stores open at least a year climbed 7.3%. LOW shares are down slightly.

European shares ended mixed, the FTSE of Britain down 0.2% and the DAX of Germany up fractionally. The FTSE retreated from its all-time high set Tuesday of 6949.6. That mark broke the prior, longstanding all-time-high close of 6,930.2 set way back on Dec. 30, 1999. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.1% to close at 18,585.20, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.1%.