Stocks End Volatile Session Lower After Hawkish Yellen, Fischer Statements

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks finished lower Friday after comments from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer doubled down on a speech by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen that asserted the case for a rate increase is gathering steam. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 53.01 points, or 0.3%, to end at 18,396.40, with the blue-chip gauge swinging in a more then 200-point range on the day in a choppy session. The S&P 500 index closed down 3.43 points, or 0.2%, at 2,169.04, but also pared its worst losses of the day. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index bucked the trend, rising 6.71 points, or 0.1%, at 5,218.92. Elsewhere, the U.S. 10-year Treasury benchmark yield rose 5.9 basis points to its highest level since June 23, as government-bond traders appeared to take seriously the prospect of a rate hike as early as September. Higher rates tend to make existing bonds less attractive. In corporate news, Herbalife Ltd. ended the session down 2.3% lower on a report from The Wall Street Journal that Carl Icahn attempted to sell a large stake in the nutritional supplement company to parties including shortseller Bill Ackman. And St. Jude Medical Inc. closed in positive territory after the cardiovascular medical device maker refuted comments made by Muddy Waters Director of Research, Carson Block, who wrote in a research note that he believes "there is a strong possibility" that nearly half of St. Jude's revenue is about to disappear for about two years.

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