US stocks mostly down on Yellen speech, Ukraine fears

AFP
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 13, 2014 in New York
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 13, 2014 in New York (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks Friday finished mostly lower following a cautious appraisal of the US jobs market by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and a sharpening of tensions over Ukraine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38.27 points (0.22 percent) to 17,001.22.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 3.97 (0.20 percent) to 1,988.40 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 6.45 (0.14 percent) to 4,358.55.

Yellen told a gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that while some economic data has improved, there still remains "considerable uncertainty about the level of employment."

"Unfortunately, the speech was a disappointment to those who looked for clues about the Fed's policy course in the near term," Briefing.com said.

Meanwhile, the United States called on Russia to "immediately" withdraw a convoy of vehicles from Ukraine and warned of further international sanctions if Moscow did not respect Kiev's sovereignty.

Russia has said the trucks are on a humanitarian mission, but Kiev had not authorized their entry and said the move was an invasion.

Analysts said Nasdaq was lifted by strong earnings from cloud-computing company Salesforce.com (+7.3 percent), which boosted other software companies. Salesforce said fiscal 2015 revenues would come in at $5.34-$5.37 billion. Analysts had projected sales of $5.34 billion.

Another Nasdaq company, apparel retailer Ross Stores, jumped 7.4 percent on a 12.4 percent increase in second-quarter earnings to $239.6 million.

Power company Dynegy bolted 8.8 percent higher after announcing deals worth $6.25 billion with Duke Energy and Energy Capital Partners to buy 12,500 megawatts in power-generation capacity, nearly doubling its fleet.

Dynegy said the deal would improve its competitive position in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Duke shed 0.2 percent.

Gap jumped 5.2 percent as second-quarter earnings rose by nearly 10 percent to $332 million. The apparel retailer also announced plans to enter the Indian market in a franchising deal with Arvind Lifestyle Brand that will lead to about 40 franchise-operated Gap stores in India.

Keurig Green Mountain jumped 13.3 percent following a deal with Food giant Kraft to sell Kraft's branded coffees in Keurig's brewing systems. Kraft slipped 0.1 percent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.40 percent from 2.41 percent Thursday, while the 30-year dropped to 3.16 percent from 3.19 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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