December 12, 2017
Friday, May 22, 2015

Wall St ends lower after Yellen comments fail to inspire

US stocks ended weaker after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank was poised to raise interest rates this year, in line with Wall Street's expectations.

Lackadaisical trading volume during the session ended a week of slow activity that has left many investors unconvinced that recent record-high levels are likely to last.

In a speech, Yellen said a rate hike would be warranted this year if the economy keeps improving as expected. She also said it would take several years to return to normal interest rates.

Investors have enjoyed an extended period of low volatility and steady gains, but with the Fed on track to raise rates this year and major indexes near records, the market could get a bit choppier in coming weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.72 points, or 0.29 percent, to end at 18,232.02 points. After trading near flat for most of today, the S&P 500 lost 4.76 points, or 0.22 percent, to close the week at 2,126.06. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.43 points, or 0.03 percent, to 5,089.36.

Both the Dow and the S&P hit new records this week but Friday's dip left the Dow in the red. For the week, the Dow ended 0.2 percent lower and the S&P rose 0.20 percent. The Nasdaq added 0.8 percent for the week.

In Europe, shares hovered near three-week highs, boosted by a dip in the euro on currency markets, although luxury goods stocks underperformed after weak sales figures from Richemont.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional shares closed down 0.12 percent at 1,617.91 points.

MSCI's all-country world index, a measure of the stock performance in 46 countries, slid 0.26 percent, slightly below an all-time high set in late April.

The first fall in German business morale in seven months, albeit a shallower dip than forecast, supported demand for German government bonds.

German 10-year yields, the benchmark for euro zone borrowing costs, posted their first week of declines out of five.

They steadied after a dramatic selloff that drove up Bund yields some 55 basis points from a record low of 0.05 percent in mid-April. The 10-year traded 3 basis points higher to yield 0.61 percent.

Monday is Memorial Day in the United States and a public holiday in much of Europe, and many markets will be closed.

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Tags:  US  stock market  Europe  Nikkei  

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