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
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.