US stocks mixed after Yellen says picture firming for rate hike

A man walks in front of a FedEx truck near the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 26. Despite the slowing growth rate Fed Chair Janet Yellen voiced optimism about the economy at the central bank's annual Jackson Hole summit.
A man walks in front of a FedEx truck near the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 26. Despite the slowing growth rate Fed Chair Janet Yellen voiced optimism about the economy at the central bank's annual Jackson Hole summit.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks were mixed on Friday (Aug 26) after Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen said the case for a rate hike is strengthening, raising expectations of a move by year-end.

Trade was fairly quiet as Yellen also suggested that the pace of future increases in the benchmark federal funds rate could be very slow.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.3 per cent at 18,395.40.

 

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent at 2,169.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1 per cent to 5,218.92.

Yellen's remarks initially touched off rises early in the trading day.

But by the close gainers and losers were not far apart on the Dow, with drugmaker Merck & Co rising the most by adding 0.9 per cent, and telecoms giant Verizon Communications leading losers, off 1.3 per cent.

Market players have for months lamented what they see as confusing signals out of the US Federal Reserve about the timing of rate hikes, which drive investment decisions in across industries and around the globe.