U.S. stocks fluctuated as investors awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, while speculation increases that the European Central Bank will take additional steps to boost inflation when it meets tomorrow.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 2,100.21 at 9:32 a.m. in New York, after yesterday opening the month with a 1.1 percent rally to close at the highest level since Nov. 3.
Yellen will address the Economic Club of Washington in the early afternoon, with investors looking out for any further statements suggesting that the first rate rise since 2006 will come later this month.
Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said in remarks today he favors raising rates this month, absent any information that “drastically” changes the economic outlook. San Francisco Fed President John Williams will also speak today. Yellen is scheduled to testify before Congress’s Joint Economic Committee tomorrow. Traders are pricing in 72 percent odds the Fed will liftoff when its next two-day meeting concludes on Dec. 16.