Stocks in the United States rose on Tuesday after six consecutive losing sessions pushed them to a 12-year low.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that the Fed was committed to ensuring the viability of all major financial institutions.
However, he warned the recession may drag into 2010 unless the government succeeds in stabilizing the banking system and financial markets with strong action.
Uncertainty about the future of the U.S. banking system earlier dragged the Dow and S&P 500 indexes to 1997 lows.
By midday, the Dow Jones industrial average had risen 77.02 points, or 1.08%, to 7,191.80.
Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 9.28 points, or 1.25%, to 752.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 16.88 points, or 1.22%, to 1,404.60.
European stocks earlier fell for a third consecutive session.
US stocks are down to about half their market value from peaks reached in October 2007.
The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 index has fallen more than 50% or about $US10 trillion.