Small gains...Bernanke: Markets beginning to understand...KFC with the bones

Wednesday - 7/17/2013, 3:30pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have been slightly higher most of the day on Wall Street. Reports of earnings gains from a number of major companies including Bank of America and CSX railroad along with reassuring words from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have boosted shares. But the gains in the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P are all well under 1 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says "the markets are beginning to understand our message." Testifying at a House hearing today, Bernanke told lawmakers the Fed's timetable for stimulus effort is not on a "preset course" and the central bank wants to see substantial progress in the job market before scaling back it bond purchasing program. Bernanke adds that it's important to provide guidance on the Fed's possible moves so that investors don't expect the bond purchases to continue indefinitely.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Federal Reserve survey finds the U.S. economy grew in most parts of the country from late May through early July. The housing recovery, consumer spending and more factory output contributed to "modest to moderate" growth in 11 of the Fed's 12 banking districts. The Dallas district reported strong growth. Hiring held steady or increased in most districts.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says delays in writing rules to put the 2010 financial overhaul law into effect have raised the prospect that big banks could still threaten the financial system's stability. At a conference organized by CNBC, Lew says if the rules are insufficient by year's end, policymakers will have to consider new approaches.

NEW YORK (AP) -- KFC is getting rid of the bones and the quaint image of Col. Sanders as it tests a slightly more upmarket restaurant. The fried chicken chain says "KFC eleven" will serve flatbread sandwiches, rice bowls, salads and only boneless pieces of its Original Recipe chicken. The test restaurant is set to open early next month near KFC's headquarters in Louisville, Ky.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.