U.S. stock indices closed lower on Monday after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled she prefers tighter monetary policy. She also expressed her confidence in the ongoing gradual expansion of the economy. Yellen expects unemployment to decline further and inflation to start approaching the central bank's target level of 2%. These comments boosted expectations for a rate hike this month.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 158.67 points, or 0.9%, to 17,729.68. The S&P 500 lost 23.12 points, or 1.1%, to 2,079.51 (all of its 10 sectors declined; the energy sector fell 3.1%). The Nasdaq Composite fell 33.08 points, or 0.6% to 5,123.22.
Investors also eyed Fed's Beige Book, which showed that the U.S. economy improved at a moderate pace in the period between mid-October and November 20. Ten out of twelve districts reported growth. This means that economic conditions were quite favorable.
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng declined 0.15%, or 33.47, to 22,446.22. China Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.53%, or 18.59, to 3.555.50. The Nikkei climbed 0.05%, or 10.60, to 19,948.73.
Asian indices traded mixed. Chinese stocks mostly rose, however stocks of energy companies fell amid declines in oil prices.
Japanese stocks posted modest gains as investors remained concerned over the country's economy. The latest data have shown that foreign investors sold a net $443 million in shares last week.