close up image of stock market data on a computer

North American stock markets rose, with U.S. markets hitting all-time highs, after the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve confirmed the central bank will cut interest rates because of a weakened economy.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 18.08 points at 16,563.29.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 76.71 points at 26,860.20. The S&P 500 index was up 13.44 points at 2,993.07, while the Nasdaq composite was up 60.80 points at 8,202.53.

The Canadian dollar traded for an average of US76.38¢ compared with an average of US76.18¢ on Tuesday.

The August crude contract was up US$2.60 at US$60.43 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was up US1.9¢ at US$2.44 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was up US$12 at US$1,412.50 an ounce and the September copper contract was up US6.9¢ at US$2.69 a pound.