NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished slightly higher on Friday (March 3) after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signalled an interest rate hike was likely this month if current economic conditions hold.
Yellen told a Chicago business group that lifting benchmark interest rates "would likely be appropriate" if employment and inflation trends stay solid.
Her remarks followed similar commentary from other Fed officials this week that left markets betting the US central bank will pull the trigger at the March 14-15 policy meeting.
Stocks shrugged off the commentary, leaving Wall Street near record highs.
"At some point, maybe later in the year or next year, the market may not look at a rate hike as a positive thing," said Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management.
"But right now, the market is willing to see this as an indication that economic growth is accelerating."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the session up a hair at 21,005.36.
The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent to end at 2,383.10, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.2 per cent to 5,870.75.
Costco Wholesale dropped 4.4 per cent after reporting second-quarter profits fell 5.7 per cent to US$515 million (S$726 million). The big-box retailer said it was hiking annual membership rates.
Rivals Wal-Mart Stores and Target both fell more than one percent.
Snap surged another 10.6 per cent in its second day of trading as Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal disclosed it has taken a US$500 million stake in the company, the latest vote of confidence Snapchat's parent company following a succesful initial public offering this week.
General Motors climbed 1.3 per cent as it edged closer to a deal to sell its European subsidiary to French carmaker PSA. The supervisory board of PSA approved the purchase of the unit and an announcement was expected Monday, a source close the transaction told AFP.