Stocks Ended Slightly Lower on Hawkish Fed Talk

U.S. stocks closed slightly lower on Tuesday as investors weighed additional comments from Federal Reserve members that emphasized the central bank’s intention to raise interest rates sooner rather than later.The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 48.69 points, or 0.26%, to 18,454.30. The S&P 500 was down 4.26 points, or 0.20%, to 2,176.12. The Nasdaq Composite shed 9.34 points, or 0.18%, to 5,222.99.

U.S. consumer confidence rose to an 11-month high in August, with households more upbeat about the labor market, in a further sign that the economy was regaining steam after faltering in the first half of the year.The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index increased 4.4 points to 101.1 this month.

Oil futures settled at a two-week low on Tuesday, as strong consumer confidence data helping to lift the dollar and traders awaited reports that are expected to show a weekly increase in U.S. crude inventories. October West Texas Intermediate crude fell by 63 cents, or 1.3%, to settle at $46.35 a barrel. The October contract for global benchmark Brent crude lost 89 cents, or 1.8%, to $48.37 a barrel.

A European Commission order requiring Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to pay Ireland $13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in unpaid taxes on Tuesday drew swift rebukes from the Obama administration and lawmakers in Congress, while reigniting calls for U.S. tax reform.

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