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Stocks retreat after Yellen's comments


July 15. 2014 9:46PM

NEW YORK — Stocks pulled back on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her fellow Fed policymakers raised concerns about “substantially stretched valuations” in some sectors.

But the major stock indexes closed well above session lows with the Dow Jones industrial average erasing all of its earlier losses.

In the monetary policy report accompanying her congressional testimony, Yellen said that “equity valuations of smaller firms as well as social media and biotechnology firms appear to be stretched.”

The Russell 2000 small-cap index dropped 1 percent and the Global X Social Media ETF slid 1.1 percent. Facebook shares tumbled 1.1 percent to $67.17. Twitter Inc shares slid 1.1 percent to $37.88.

“These are the sub-industries that have caused a lot of longtime stock watchers to scratch their heads,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

“Looking at some of these things and trying to figure out their value, it felt like the 2000 Internet bubble all over again,” Forrest added.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.26 points or 0.03 percent, to end at 17,060.68, not far below the record closing high of 17,068.26 set on July 3.

The S&P 500 slipped 3.82 points or 0.19 percent, to 1,973.28, about 12 points below its record closing high of 1,985.44 set on July 3.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.03 points or 0.54 percent, to close at 4,416.39.

According to the BofA Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey for July, 61 percent of global asset managers are overweight equities, the highest reading since early 2011, but 21 percent see stock markets as overvalued, the highest reading since 2000.

On the earnings front, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S. bank, when ranked by assets, reported second-quarter results that were not as bad as investors had feared.. JPMorgan’s stock shot up 3.5 percent to $58.27 and helped lift the Dow.

Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc gained 1.3 percent to $169.17 after the company reported a 5 percent increase in second-quarter profit. Higher revenue from stock underwriting helped Goldman’s bottom line.

But the stock of Johnson & Johnson, another Dow component, fell 2 percent to $103.28. The diversified healthcare and consumer products company reported higher-than-expected quarterly results on sizzling sales of Olysio, its new treatment for hepatitis C. The company, however, cautioned that the new pill’s sales will lose momentum later this year as new rivals come to market.

S&P 500 companies’ profits are expected to grow 5.2 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from the 8.4 percent growth forecast at the start of April. Revenue is seen up 3.2 percent.

Shares of Yahoo Inc rose 2.7 percent in extended-hours trading despite the Internet company reporting a decline in second-quarter net revenue.

About 6 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, above the 5.32 billion average for the month to date.


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