NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mixed in afternoon trading Monday following a two-day rally late last week. Investors were searching for direction in what has been a quiet day with little economic data or company earnings for investors to react to.
Analysts say the market is likely to remain in a holding pattern until traders hear from Janet Yellen in her first testimony before Congress since becoming head of the Federal Reserve.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell six points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,788 as of 3:10 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up one point to 1,798 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,144.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Yellen, who started her term as head of the central bank this month, is scheduled to testify before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yellen's comments will be closely watched, especially after recent disappointing economic data and the Fed's decision to further reduce on its monthly bond purchases.
STAY THE COURSE: Despite recent volatility in the market, investors believe that Yellen will likely continue her predecessor's plan to wind down the Fed's economic stimulus program. Last week, the Fed cut its bond purchases to $65 billion a month.
"We should expect more volatility as the Fed transitions away from its (economic stimulus plan)," said Doug Cote, chief investment strategist at ING Investment Management.
TWO STRONG DAYS: The stock market surged late last week. The Dow rose 188 points on Thursday and 166 points on Friday. The market rallied Friday despite a jobs report that showed the U.S. economy created only 113,000 jobs in January, fewer than economists were anticipating. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all still negative for 2014, although the Nasdaq is red by less than 1 percent. The Dow is down less than 5 percent this year.
YELP UP: The online review site Yelp rose $1.60, or 2 percent, to $91.00. Yahoo is reportedly making a partnership with Yelp to integrate the company's content into its search engine, according to The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets.
ICAHN TAKES THE PRESSURE OFF: Apple rose $9.64, or 2 percent, to $529.32. Activist investor Carl Icahn said he has dropped his shareholder proposal to force Apple to increase its stock buyback plan. Apple recently disclosed it had bought $14 billion of its own stock.
AMEX UPGRADED: American Express among the biggest gainers in the Dow, up $1.13, or 1 percent, to $88.13, after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "equal weight."
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