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Yellen's remarks continue to shore up markets

Greg Keller, Associated Press

A man walks outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Tokyo stocks jumped in early trading Wednesday, a day after a surge on Wall Street that followed reassurance from the new head of the U.S. Federal Reserve about continued low-interest rate policies. (AP Photo/Junji kurokawa)

PARIS (AP) -- Markets were solid Wednesday a day after the new head of the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that interest rates would remain low for a while to come.

Stronger Chinese trade figures and the shelving of another U.S. debt limit battle also helped support markets, which appear to be getting over the recent turmoil that was largely prompted by uncertainties over emerging economies.

Though Yellen indicated that she would continue with the reduction in the Fed's stimulus, she stressed that interest rates would remain at low levels for many more months at least. That message was similarly reiterated by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

"It seems that investors are now convinced that the correction is over and are once again happy to buy the dips, although maybe not quite as aggressively as they were at times last year," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed flat at 6,675.03 while Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent to 9,540.00. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.5 percent higher 4,305.50.

In the U.S., stocks were softer following their best run this year. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.2 percent at 15,957 while the broader S&P 500 index was steady at 1,820.

Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent to 6,698.22 and France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 4,304.91. Germany's DAX climbed 1 percent to 9,568.42.

The dollar has been broadly steady in the of Yellen's remarks. The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.3585 while the dollar was flat 102.53 yen.

Earlier in Asia, worries about China's economy were eased after the government reported faster growth in imports and exports for January. That helped stocks across the region to post solid gains, including China's Shanghai Composite Index, which ended 0.3 percent higher.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent to finish at 14,800.06. Japanese markets were closed Tuesday for a national holiday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.5 percent to 22,285.79 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 1,935.84.


AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.