US stocks decline after Yellen’s testimony

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New York, June 23 (IANS) US stocks reversed early gains to end lower on Wednesday, as Wall Street assessed US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments ahead of Thursday’s Brexit vote.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.90 points, or 0.27 percent, to 17,780.83. The S&P 500 lost 3.45 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,085.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 10.44 points, or 0.22 percent, to 4,833.32, Xinhua reported.

Yellen said on Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee that the labour market remains in a healthy condition and continues to improve, particularly in the area of wage growth. She also noted that small businesses are able to gain access to credit, and that the access to credit is growing at a healthy pace.

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In her testimony on Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen reiterated the US central bank’s intention to raise interest rates, taking a cautious approach in view of an uncertain US economy.

Economic data came out positive, which, combined with Yellen’ s remarks, raised speculations that the second interest rate hike by the Fed would come rather sooner than later.

US existing-home sales sprang ahead in May to their highest pace in almost a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday.

Total existing-home sales grew 1.8 percent from a downwardly revised 5.43 million in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million in May, the highest reading of this measure since 2007.

Investors were also counting down the hours to Britain’s referendum, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday morning. The latest polls showed the “Leave” camp was tied with the “Remain” camp in the referendum.

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