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Yellen’s dovishness helps US stocks to fresh records


Dr. Janet Yellen is sworn in for her confirmation hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill. Photo - AFP

New York: US stocks set fresh all-time highs for the third straight day on Friday after Federal Reserve chief nominee Janet Yellen bolstered expectations of the Fed keeping the flow of easy money.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 85.48 points (0.54 per cent), striking a new record at 15,961.70.

The broad-based S&P 500 also hit a new high, adding 7.56 (0.42 per cent) at 1,798.18.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite meanwhile gained 13.23 (0.33 per cent) to 3,985.97.

The gains came a day after Fed vice chair Yellen, nominated to become Fed chair, delivered a strong defence of the central bank's easing policies in confirmation hearings in the Senate.

She also said the Fed did not believe US property and stock markets were in a bubble, despite strong gains this year.

Markets meanwhile shrugged off a fall in the Fed's Empire State Manufacturing business condition index for November which dropped to a negative 2.21 from a positive 1.52 in October, the first time in negative territory since May.

Oil company shares were strong after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway revealed it had amassed a 40-million-share stake in oil giant ExxonMobil that was at the close of trade on Friday worth more than $3.8 billion.

Exxon added 2.2 per cent for the day, Chevron rose 0.4 per cent, and the US - traded shares of Shell, BP and Total were also up by solid margins.

Berkshire's more widely traded B shares gained 0.5 per cent.

T-Mobile USA shares added 2.2 per cent to $26.05 after it successfully sold 66.2 million new shares before trade opened on Friday at $25, a 2 per cent discount to Thursday's close.

Reports of slumping sales of its video games sent Electronic Arts shares down 7.3 per cent.
Bad press over a third car fire and a factory fire continued to pummel shares of electric car maker Tesla, which lost 1.6 per cent.

Exchange operator Nasdaq OMX got no boost from the announcement that it had scored the listing of the merged American Airlines — US Airways when their deal is completed in the coming months. Nasdaq OMX shares fell 0.3 per cent.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.71 per cent from 2.70 per cent late on Thursday, while the 30-year held at 3.80 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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