Bank stocks rise on Yellen comments

NEW YORK - Shares of banks rose Wednesday morning as Federal Reserve Chain Janet Yellen told Congress the central bank is likely to raise interest rates this year and as some of the largest banks reported encouraging second-quarter results.

Yellen said she sees signs the economy is getting stronger and said the Fed will probably start raising interest rates later this year if those improvements continue.

The Fed's benchmark rate has been at almost zero since December 2008. If the Fed raises its rate, banks will be able to charge their customers higher interest rates on loans.

Bank of America (BAC) rose 51 cents, or 3 percent, to $17.64; Citigroup gained 48 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $56.39.

On Tuesday JPMorgan Chase (JPM) posted a larger-than-expected profit and Bank of America said Wednesday that its profit more than doubled.