NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks were moving between small gains and losses in early trading Thursday as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen began her testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Investors were also looking over quarterly results from several U.S. retailers and other companies. Best Buy and J.C. Penney were among the early gainers.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were moving between small gains and losses in early trading Thursday as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen began her testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Investors were also looking over quarterly results from several U.S. retailers and other companies. Best Buy and J.C. Penney were among the early gainers.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down two points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,842 as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,182. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 4,293.
THE FED: Yellen, the Fed chief, began her testimony at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Investors will be looking for any hints of change in the Fed's plans to continue winding down its huge bond-buying program, which has been keeping interest rates ultra-low and supporting financial markets. Stocks jumped Feb. 11 when Yellen made her first comments in front of Congress since taking over for Ben Bernanke earlier this month.
TURNING IT AROUND: J.C. Penney jumped $1.34, or 22 percent, to $7.29 after the department store chain swung to a small profit in the fourth quarter after posting a big loss in the same period a year earlier. Penney also reported its first quarterly gain in a key revenue figure in more than two years.
TURNING IT AROUND (2): Best Buy climbed $1.33, or 5.3 percent, to $27.12 after the company returned to a profit in the fourth quarter and topped Wall Street expectations as it cut costs to offset declining sales. The specialty electronics retailer says it gained market share during the quarter.
THREE MAKES A TREND: Sears climbed $1.39, or 3 percent, to $41.71 after the company said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the operator of Sears and Kmart stores lowered expenses and reduced inventories. Sears has been trying to restore profitability by cutting costs, trimming inventory, selling off some assets and spinning off others.
INVESTIGATION: General Motors fell 78 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $36.06 after the U.S. government's auto safety watchdog said it is investigating whether the automaker acted quickly enough to recall 1.6 million older-model small cars in a case linked to 13 deaths.
MIXED ECONOMY: American businesses ordered fewer long-lasting manufactured goods in January, cutting their demand for aircraft, autos and machinery. But a key category that reflects business investment rose a solid 1.7 percent. Demand rose for electronic products and fabricated metals, such as steel.
CRIMEA TENSIONS: Stocks in Europe fell as tensions escalated in the Ukraine. Heavily armed pro-Russia gunmen seized control of local government buildings in Crimea. Investors are worried that the tensions in the strategically important peninsula may push the Ukrainian crisis into a more dangerous phase. Stock indexes in Germany, France and England all fell.
BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.66 percent from 2.67 percent on Wednesday. The price of oil rose 28 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $102.86 a barrel. The price of gold climbed $3.90, or 0.3 percent, to $1,331.90 an ounce.