Dow Clings To 21,000 As Broader Stock Market Retreats

By Joseph Adinolfi Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Stocks opened mostly lower on Friday as investors awaited comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer. The S&P 500 index slipped two points, or 0.1%, to 2,380, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 21,006. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed seven points, or 0.1%, to 5,854. Caterpillar Inc. shares eased amid reports of a raid by federal authorities. Shares of Big Lots Inc. rose after the company beat profit expectations but missed sales forecasts. In other markets, the Mexican peso soared to a new postelection high against the dollar following comments from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The market-based probability of an interest-rate hike at the Fed's coming March meeting were above 75% on Friday, compared with around 30% a week ago, as a bevy of Fed speakers appeared to signal that a rate hike was likely. Investors will be watching to see if Yellen and Fischer confirm this view.

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