US stocks rise, dollar falls after Yellen's comments

Indo Asian News Service

New York, March 4 (IANS) US stocks ended higher after wavering between small gains and losses while the US dollar ended lower against other major currencies on on Friday, as Wall Street digested Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's remarks about future rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 2.74 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 21,005.71. The S&P 500 added 1.20 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 2,383.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 9.53 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 5,870.75, Xinhua news reported.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, rose broadly in the morning session, but then went down 0.63 per cent and traded at 101.560 in late trading.

In late New York trading, the euro rose to $1.0606 from $1.0497 in the previous session, and the British pound climbed to $1.2283 from $1.2251 in the previous session. The Australian dollar increased to $0.7592 from $0.7559.

Yellen on Friday signalled that an interest rate hike in this month's monetary policy will likely be appropriate, if the economy progresses in line with officials' expectation.

"At our meeting later this month, the (Federal Open Market) Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate," said Yellen in a speech at the Executives' Club of Chicago.

The Fed is scheduled to hold its next monetary policy meeting on March 14 and 15.

On the economic front, the Non-Manufacturing Index, which measures activity in the US service sector, registered 57.6 per cent in February, beating market expectations of 56.5, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in its monthly survey on Friday.

For the week, all three major indices witnessed sizable gains, with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq moving up 0.9 per cent, 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.