The Fed is currently buying $85 billion a month in bonds to keep interest rates low and to encourage spending and hiring.
After Bernanke's remarks Wednesday, stocks that are helped by low interest rates perked up.
Homebuilders D.R. Horton rose $1.66, or 7.9 percent, to $22.71 and Lennar Group climbed $2.53, or 7.3 percent, to $37.30.
The housing market has benefited from low interest rates because they help make mortgages cheaper.
"The Bernanke qualifications have taken the interest rate risk off the table and now it's really about what will earnings say," said Jonathan Lewis, chief investment officer at Samson Capital Advisors.
Corporations began reporting earnings for the second quarter earnings, which ended 11 days ago, this week. S&P Capital IQ forecasts that companies in the S&P 500 will report average earnings growth of 3 percent from a year earlier.
The price of gold rose for a fourth straight day, climbing $35.30, or 2.83 percent, to $1,283 an ounce. Gold has rebounded this week after falling close to a three-year low. Its gains helped mining stocks. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold rose $1.21, or 4.3 percent, to $28.50. Newport Mining gained $1.08, or 4.6 percent, to $27.71.
Among stocks making big moves:
— Bridgepoint Education rose $2.24, or 18 percent, to $14.87, after the for-profit education company said its Ashford University had won accreditation. Bridgepoint, which also operates the University of the Rockies, struggled with accreditation problems for much of 2012.
—Microsoft rose 74 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $35.44, after the company announced a major reorganization. The world's largest software maker has been struggling with a steady decline in PC demand as people turn to tablets and other mobile devices.
— Rockwell Medical Technologies Inc. jumped 94 cents, or 25 percent, to $4.70, after the drug developer said an experimental treatment for kidney patients took a step toward winning approval.
— Celgene rose $8.20, or 6.6 percent, $133.30 after the Swiss drugmaker said its cancer drug Revlimid met its goals in a late-stage study.