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Overnight Markets: Wall Street gives up early gains
S&P 500 ends flat as investors digested comments by Yellen, who kept options open for more rate increases but also saw risks to the US economy.
An early rally on Wall Street lost steam late in the session on Wednesday, as investors digested comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who kept options open for more rate increases but also saw risks to the US economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 100 points, or 0.62%, to 15,915, the S&P 500 closed flat at 1,852 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15 points, or 0.35%, to 4,284.
Shares registered early gains after Yellen told Congress she does not expect the central bank to reverse the rate hike programme it began in December. But Yellen also acknowledged tightening financial conditions and uncertainty about China.
Materials and energy shares were Wednesday's biggest losers following further losses in US oil prices.
Walt Disney (DIS.N) shares dropped 3.8%, and were the biggest drag on the Dow. Disney dropped after reporting lower profit at its ESPN sports network.
However, technology and healthcare shares rebounded from recent losses. The S&P technology index added 0.4% while healthcare gained 0.9%. Activision Blizzard was among the top gainers, rising 4.7%.
After the bell, Twitter (TWTR.N) shares eased 1.8% in volatile trading after it said average monthly active users stalled in the fourth quarter, while Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) rose 7.3% after it reported a profit that beat estimates.
In Asia, shares traded mostly down on Thursday in morning session as investors evaluated remarks from Yellen and oil remained volatile.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, which resumed trading today after being shut from Monday through Wednesday for the Lunar New Year holiday, opened down 4.2% before retracing some losses trade down 3.82%.In South Korea, the Kospi re-opened lower after its three-day holiday, shedding 2.37%. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 erased gains of as much as 0.56%. In Japan Nikkei 225 was down 2.31%.
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