U.S. stocks end mixed amid Yellen speech

2017-01-18 22:39:55 GMT2017-01-19 06:39:55(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed Wednesday, as investors digested remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, amid a batch of economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.05 points, or 0.11 percent, to 19,804.72. The S&P 500 edged up 4.00 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,271.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 16.93 points, or 0.31 percent, to 5,555.65.

In prepared remarks, Yellen said Wednesday afternoon that the U.S. economy is closing in on the central bank's goals, giving it impetus to start reducing the extreme levels of support it has provided over the past decade, according to the CNBC.

"Right now our foot is still pressing on the gas pedal, though, as I noted, we have eased back a bit," Yellen said.

The Fed's Beige Book, released ahead of Yellen's speech, was also in focus.

According to the Beige Book, reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest pace across most regions from late November through the end of the year.

On the economic front, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers increased 0.3 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with market consensus, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday.

"As the price of food, energy, and commodities have gyrated over the past several years, service costs have steadily gained. Given the current price of gasoline, the headline reading should top out for the year at 2.5% next month, barring another significant jump in energy prices in 2017," said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial.

Meanwhile, U.S. industrial production rose 0.8 percent in December after falling 0.7 percent in November, the Fed said Wednesday.

U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained on firm ground in January, down two points to a level of 67 from a downwardly revised December reading of 69 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.