U.S. stocks rallied for a second day, as earnings topped forecasts and the Federal Reserve said the labor and housing markets are improving.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.7 percent to 2,108.47 at 4 p.m. in New York, after climbing above its average prices during both the past 50 and 100 days.

The labor market “continued to improve, with solid job gains and declining unemployment,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement today, while also noting the housing sector “has shown additional improvement.”

Chair Janet Yellen is guiding the Fed toward its first rate increase in almost a decade as the nation approaches full employment. She has said the Fed is likely to tighten this year if the economy continues to improve as she expects, with market speculation focused on a move as soon as September.

Yellen has emphasized that the timing of rate liftoff is less important than the subsequent pace of increases, which she said would be gradual.

Greece’s debt crisis and recent turmoil in China’s stock market had raised concerns about global growth and added to speculation that the Fed may further delay a rate increase.

Earlier this month, Yellen told lawmakers that raising rates prematurely could derail the recovery. Waiting too long, on the other hand, might force the Fed to tighten at a faster pace to keep the economy from overheating.

Source: Bloomberg