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Wall St closes slightly up; investors look to Yellen

Published on Feb 11, 2014 5:56 AM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - United States (US) stocks ended with modest gains on Monday as investors digested recent market gains and looked ahead to new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's first testimony before lawmakers.

The Nasdaq was boosted by strength in large-cap tech and pharma names, but most market participants took a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the testimony, looking for confirmation that the Fed would not change its schedule for ending its support for the economy.

The US central bank's accommodative monetary policies have been credited with fuelling the market's steep gains in 2013, and are expected to keep a floor under equity prices for as long as they continue.

The Fed first announced a slowing in the bond-buying programme in December, followed by another one in January. If it changes the pace of tapering - and uncertainty in emerging markets and the weak January payrolls have raised the odds of that to some - it may raise concerns that the economy is still not strong enough to strengthen on its own.

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