Aug 24 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks rally after Fed Chief Ben Bernanke tells Congressional panel the central bank has room to add more stimulus; Sales of new single family homes rose in July; Durable goods orders jump on aircraft orders; Oil prices fall despite Isaac shut-downs; ECB talk sends European stocks higher. Jill Bennett reports.
The Fed Chief gets the bulls moving on Wall Street. The Central Bank has room to add more stimulus to the ailing U.S. economy - Bernanke told a Congressional oversight panel in a letter. Here's a look at the numbers: The Dow added 100 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq both added more than half a percent. For the week: The Dow fell nearly 1 percent and the Nasdaq was slightly lower. Sales of new single family homes rose in July, while median prices fell by more than two percent from a year ago to $224,200. The Commerce Department report gives mixed signals about the strength of the hard hit housing market, yet the estimates are prone to substantial revisions. The housing market has picked up in recent months and home building is expected to add to economic growth this year for the first time in seven years. Big-ticket items are racking up big sales. The Commerce Department reports orders for durable goods, items designed to last three years or more, posted the largest jump since December thanks to strong orders for civilian aircraft. Aircraft maker Boeing received 260 plane orders in July, up from 24 in June - according to information posted on the plane maker's website. The aircraft surge was complemented by a 13 percent jump in motor vehicle orders, the largest increase since July last year. But another government report shows planned spending by businesses fell in July for a second straight month - hinting at a cooler pace in manufacturing. Oil prices fell back slightly Friday, despite oil companies shutting down offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Isaac takes aim at Haiti and Florida. Turning overseas: A European Central bank source told Reuters it is considering new targets in a bond-buying program that could help keep a lid on borrowing costs for Greece and Spain, though the ECB says no decision has been made. Germany's Merkel gives no extra time for Greece's bailout. Moderate gains for the DAX and CAC and the FTSE finished flat. Jill Bennett, Reuters