Wall Street slightly up with Yellen speech in focus | Reuters

By Sweta Singh

U.S. stocks were marginally up on Friday, as investors focused on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech for clues on the possibility of an interest rate hike later this month.Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the S&P 500 financial index leading the gainers. High-dividend paying consumer staples and utilities were the laggards. Yellen's speech comes after several other Fed officials this week painted an upbeat picture of the U.S. economy, stoking market expectations for a March rate hike.She is set to speak at 1:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) at the Executives Club of Chicago. Traders have priced in a 76 percent chance of a rate hike this month, compared with roughly 30 percent at the start of the week, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, who has backed raising interest rates, is also scheduled to give a keynote address on monetary policy in New York at 12:30 p.m. ET."We suspect she will likely suggest a rate hike this month," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial, wrote in a note.U.S. stock markets closed down on Thursday, as financials declined after surging a day earlier on increased expectations of a rate hike this month.

At 9:42 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 22.32 points, or 0.11 percent, at 21,025.29, the S&P 500 was up 0.33 points, or 0.014 percent, at 2,382.25 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.94 points, or 0.07 percent, at 5,865.16.Among stocks, Snap Inc, which closed up more than 40 percent in its much-awaited market debut on Thursday, was up nearly 9 percent at $26.57.Costco fell 3.7 percent to $171.19 and was the top drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq after the warehouse club retailer reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales and profit.

Discount retailer Big Lots was up 4.7 percent at $54.72 after reporting a slight uptick in comparable store sales.Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,514 to 1,038. On the Nasdaq, 1,402 issues rose and 840 fell.The S&P 500 index showed two new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Sweta Singh and Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Mar 03, 2017 22:00 PM

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