Stocks Opened Higher, Eyed on Yellen Speech

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Friday ahead of a hotly awaited talk by Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately climbed 66.56 points, or 0.36%, to 18,514.97. The S&P 500 advanced 2.53 points, or 0.12%, to 2,175.00. The Nasdaq Composite added 6.17 points, or 0.12%, to 5,218.37.

Yellen is expected to shed light on whether an interest-rate hike is likely in 2016, a move that could force a reevaluation of assets, such as corporate bonds and emerging market stocks, which have performed well this year.

U.S. economic growth was a bit more sluggish than initially thought in the second quarter as businesses aggressively ran down stocks of unsold goods, offsetting a spurt in consumer spending. Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.1 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

The government also reported that after-tax corporate profits fell at a 2.4 percent rate last quarter after increasing at an 8.1 percent pace in the first quarter. Weak profits could limit an anticipated rebound in business spending.
Investors trimmed risk assets before a gathering of central bankers on Friday, pulling $6.4 billion from U.S.-based stock funds in a course-reversal during the week ended Aug. 24, data from Lipper showed on Thursday.

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