By Kate Gibson U.S. stocks finished ahead on Wednesday, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its longest winning streak since August 2009, as Wall Street rejoiced over the Federal Reserve's prior-session decision to hold rates steady, which should keep banks' borrowing costs at record lows for much of the year. "There's no question the Fed being easy continues to feed this. Easy money is creating massive misallocations everywhere, and that party can continue. As long as you have Ben the bartender manning the tap, anything is possible," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve's interest-rate committee released a statement saying it expected to keep rates exceptionally low "for an extended period" as the economy continues to recover. The Dow industrials (DJI) added 47.69 points, or 0.5%, to 10,733.67, with 24 of its 30 components gaining. Closing at its highest level since Sept. 30, 2008, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose for a third straight day, adding 6.75 points, or 0.6%, to 1,166.21. Energy and financial shares paced sector gains among the index's 10 industry groups. Lincoln National Corp. (LNC) led financial gains after its upgrade by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. . Advancers beat decliners by a more than a 2-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 5.1 billion shares exchanged hands. Year-to-date, daily volume in 2010 has averaged about 4.7 billion, still below last year's daily average of just under 5.5 billion. In 2008, the daily average came to 4.9 billion, according to Boockvar. The tally includes electronic and floor trades. "A lot of the short-term traders aren't participating because we don't have the volatility," said Jeffrey Friedman, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock, who noted the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) is trading under 20, a scenario now in play for a third week. Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) was among those advancing after its late-Tuesday announcement that it would repay $3.4 billion in government relief funds. . The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) climbed 11.08 points, or 0.5%, to 2,389.09. On Capitol Hill, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified Wednesday about efforts to reform banking regulation, telling Congress the Fed's participation in the oversight of banks improves its ability to carry out its monetary goals. The push for reform stems in part from what began as trouble in the housing market, with the ripple effect from that crisis still in play. . Crude-oil futures closed at $82.93 a barrel and gold futures also gained, finishing at $1,124.2 an ounce. Underpinning commodities' gains, the dollar fell against the Japanese yen and rose against the euro. . An early report on prices at the wholesale level offered more credence to thinking that the Federal Reserve should not have to hike rates anytime soon to curb inflation. The Labor Department's producer price index declined 0.6% in February, its largest drop in seven months. Taking out food and energy costs, the index gained 0.1%. . On Tuesday, stocks rose after the Fed's announcement that it would keep its key rate for overnight loans between banks at between zero and 0.25%. . "Each FOMC meeting that keeps this language intact gives investors 12 weeks of stability," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. Shares of Blockbuster Inc. (BBI) fell 29% after the video-rent chain said it might have to file for bankruptcy protection as it struggles with debt after reporting a fourth-quarter loss of nearly $435 million. .