S&P 500 erases gains on global growth fears; Europe stocks rise
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most U.S. shares ended little changed to lower on Wednesday, erasing early gains on concerns about global growth and sliding commodity-related shares, while greater calm surrounding the European banking sector boosted that region's shares.
The benchmark U.S. S&P 500 .SPX stock index rose as much as 1.6 percent following Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's prepared testimony to Congress. It changed course and ended mostly flat, while the Dow Jones industrial average ended down 100 points.
Yellen acknowledged that tightening financial conditions and uncertainty about China posed risks, but told Congress she does not expect the central bank to reverse its rate hike program.
As upbeat sentiment faded and U.S. oil prices fell, materials and energy shares were Wall Street's biggest losers. Stock markets have sagged given uncertainty surrounding monetary policy and a steep decline in commodity prices.
European shares snapped a seven-day losing streak, bolstered by solid earnings and a recovery in Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote) from 30-year lows. The euro zone's banking index ended up 6.9 percent. It still appeared headed for a seventh straight weekly decline, the longest losing streak since 1998.
"Nervous investors have been selling strength in the market," said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments in Atlanta, citing persistent worries about global growth.
MSCI's all-country world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, was last down 0.35 points or 0.1 percent, at 358.08.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended down 99.64 points, or 0.62 percent, at 15,914.74. The S&P 500 .SPX closed down 0.35 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,851.86. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC rose 14.83 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,283.59. Continued...