Yellen helps offset Ukraine worry; S&P 500 hits record
Stocks on world markets mostly advanced today, while the S&P 500 closed at a record high, as comments from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen offset concerns over tension in Ukraine and Russia.
Yellen signaled the central bank was likely to stay the course in its current plan to scale back its stimulus measures and said unusually harsh winter weather appears to be behind recent signs of weakness in the US economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.3 points or 0.46 percent, to 16,272.71, the S&P 500 gained 9.15 points or 0.5 percent, to 1,854.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 26.869 points or 0.63 percent, to 4,318.933.European equities pared most of their early losses late in trading, with better-than-expected US durable goods data and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen prompting some investors to return to the market.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell 1.0 percent earlier in the day on poor company news and Ukraine tensions, ended 0.2 percent lower at 1,345.46 points. It was helped by data showing orders for US manufactured goods excluding transportation unexpectedly rose last month.Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei average fell for a second day, moving further away from a four-week closing hit earlier this week as heightened tensions in Ukraine soured sentiment, dragging down index heavyweights like SoftBank.
The Nikkei ended 0.3 percent lower at 14,923.11, moving away from 15,051.60 hit on Tuesday, which was the highest closing level since Jan. 29.