Dollar flat as Yellen testimony dents future rate hike expectations

A trader looks at electronic screens on the dealing floor at DBS Bank's new headquarters in Singapore. REUTERS

The Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.1 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 19.57 points, or 0.09 percent, to 21,572.66. MSCI's gauge of equity performance in 47 countries .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.38 percent, and its pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rebounded to rise 0.07 percent.

US -listed shares of Novartis AG (NOVN.EB) fell 0.9% despite a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel late Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency approve one of its cancer drugs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/novartis-gets-fda-panel-recommendation-for-leukemia-drug-approval-2017-07-12).

FED TALK: Yellen was appearing before a Senate committee, a day after she testified before a House panel.

However, she listed inflation as one of the uncertainties the economy is facing.

Gold rose on Wednesday after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen curbed speculation that U.S. interest rates would rise a couple of times this year. Technology stocks were in focus, with electronics and semiconductor company Tokyo Electron rising as much as 3 percent. Year-on-year CPI has been softening steadily since February, when it hit 2.7 percent. Nvidia rose $3.39, or 2.1 percent, to $165.90.

Australian shares rallied led by a surge in financial, healthcare and retail stocks. Gap added 63 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $22.21.

Global stock markets scaled fresh record highs, capping their best week in more than two months, and oil prices gained in volatile trading amid signs of strengthening demand.

USA crude futures held stable after climbing 1% overnight on government data showing a bigger-than-expected drop in crude stocks, while gold traded flat after three days of gains amid political uncertainty in the US.

UNDER THE WEATHER: Health care stocks were among the laggards.

TURBULENT QUARTER: Delta Air Lines was down 1.8 percent after the company reported a smaller profit and less revenue than analysts expected.

Snap Inc. (SNAP) surged 3.2% after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snaps-stock-surges-after-stifel-turns-bullish-as-selloff-as-created-a-compelling-opportunity-2017-07-13), saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a "compelling" opportunity.

BONDS: Bond prices fell.

South Korea's Kospi average climbed 17.72 points or 0.74 percent to 2,409.49, a record high, after low inflation enabled the Bank of Korea to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record low 1.25 percent for the 11th straight month.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 18 cents to $45.67 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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