* Yellen statement yields no surprises
* House Republicans aim to pass debt limit bill
* Sprint, CVS climb after results
* Indexes up: Dow 0.85 pct, S&P 0.75 pct, Nasdaq 0.62 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday after new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reinforced the central bank’s plan to trim its market-friendly stimulus, while also noting labor market conditions needed to improve.
In her first public comments as Fed chief, Yellen emphasized continuity in the Fed’s policy strategy, saying she strongly supports the approach of her predecessor, Ben Bernanke.
“They are apparently loving what Janet Yellen has to say which is really, ‘hold the course steady, here is what I am.’ She is not any different than what they expected her to be,” said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at O‘Neil Securities in New York.
The gains helped push the S&P 500 through its 50-day moving average for the first time since January 24, a technical resistance level which could fuel further gains if it’s is convincingly held.
“They challenged the 50-day moving average, now it depends if we hold up through there today, it will give them every opportunity to try to challenge the (record) high - which isn’t necessarily coming in a day or two - but if we hold up through the 50-day there is a real possibility that it goes there.”
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 133.67 points or 0.85 percent, to 15,935.46, the S&P 500 gained 13.44 points or 0.75 percent, to 1,813.28 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25.71 points or 0.62 percent, to 4,173.884.
The central bank has cut its bond-buying program by $10 billion at each of its last two meetings, reducing the monthly purchases to $65 billion.
Stocks also saw a potential headwind removed when Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives caved in to demands by President Barack Obama and agreed to advance legislation raising Washington’s borrowing authority.
Sprint Corp, the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider, reported quarterly revenue ahead of analysts’ expectations and said it added wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter. The stock was up 2.5 percent to $7.88.
CVS Caremark Corp posted higher quarterly profit as it processed more prescriptions and benefited from the introduction of new generic drugs. The stock rose 2.6 percent to $68.66.
Of the 357 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Tuesday morning, 67.8 percent have beaten profit expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Almost 66 percent have topped revenue forecasts, above the historical average of 61 percent.
ConAgra Foods lost 6.5 percent to $29.02 as one of the worst performers on the S&P 500. The maker of Chef Boyardee pastas and Slim Jim beef jerky cut its full-year profit outlook, citing weaker profits in its private label business and lower sales of certain consumer foods brands.
Infloblox Inc plunged 46.7 percent to $17.67 after the network equipment maker estimated second-quarter revenue below analysts’ average forecast.
Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 26.4 percent to $13.99 after the company agreed to be acquired by specialty pharmaceuticals company Mallinckrodt Plc said for about $1.3 billion. Mallinckrodt climbed 10.2 percent to $65.35.