US stocks rebound amid Yellen’s speech

New York, Dec 20 (IANS) US stocks ended higher after wavering in a tight range as investors digested a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday rose 39.65 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 19,883.06, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 added 4.46 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 2,262.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 20.28 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 5,457.44.

Yellen said at a University of Baltimore commencement ceremony on Monday that the US has the strongest jobs market in nearly a decade, and there are indications wage growth is picking up, according to the CNBC.

Last week, the US central bank decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/2 to 3/4 percent.

The Fed also released its updated economic projections, which indicated that the central bank forecasts three rate hikes next year, while in its September projections, Fed officials expected only two rate hikes in 2017.

On the economic front, adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit Flash US Services PMI Business Activity Index posted 53.4 in December, down slightly from 54.6 in November but above the 50.0 no-change value for the tenth consecutive month.

Overseas, European equities closed mixed on Monday. German benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange increased 0.20 per cent, while French benchmark index CAC 40 dipped 0.22 per cent.