The markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually ended the trading session higher as investors await for the first report on monetary policy that will be delivered by Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen in Congress tomorrow.

Stock market news

In a note to investors, analysts at BNP Paribas opined that Yellen will likely indicate the intention of the Federal Reserve to continue tapering its monthly bond-buying program “without sounding alarmed about the softer payroll reports of the past two months.”

The Federal Reserve already decided to reduce its monthly asset purchases to $65 billion from $85 billion. Last week, the Department of Labor reported that American companies added 113,000 jobs in January, which was lower-than-expected. However, the unemployment rate declined to 6.6%, the lowest since October 2008.

Jim Russell, senior equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management told Bloomberg, “There might be some residual concern around what Yellen might say. It will be interesting to watch what her response will be on what do you make of two weak payroll numbers in a row, and what do you make of the recent volatility in the emerging markets.”

Yellen will testify before the House Financial Services Committee and will talk about monetary policy and economic outlook for the first time as chairperson of the Federal Reserve.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15,798.96 (+0.03%)
  • S&P 500- 1,799.32 (+0.13%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,146.84 (+0.51%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,118.17 (+0.15%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,032.53 (-0.20%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,591.55 (+0.30%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,289.86 (-0.13%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,718.34 (+1.77%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21,579.26 (-0.27%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,267.53 (+2.49%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose almost 2% to $528.99 per share after activist investor Carl Icahn indicated that he will back down from his shareholder proposal demanding the iPhone and iPad maker repurchase $50 billion of stock this year due to its recent $14 billion stock buyback executed and the opposition of a proxy-advisory firm.

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) gained nearly 2% to $91.11 per share on reports that its ratings on local business will be included by Yahoo! Inc (NYSE:YHOO) to its search results within a few weeks.

The shares of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) increased 4.53% to $52.36 per share after disclosing its plan to reduce its unprofitable business lines and to return capital to shareholders through dividend payments and stock buyback. The toymaker reported $1.12 earnings per share on $1.28 billion revenue for the fourth quarter.