Business

US investors await economic updates

NYSE traders Image copyright EPA

(Close): US markets had a mixed day ahead of the release of revised figures on US economic growth and a speech by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

The Dow Jones closed 23.22 points lower at 17828.29, while the S&P 500 index was 0.44 points down at 2090.10.

The tech-focused Nasdaq index rose 6.88 points to 4901.77.

Investors will be trawling through a speech by Ms Yellen on Friday, for signs of whether the Fed will raise interest rates in June.

"People are taking their foot off the gas after making a bunch of money, and now they're waiting for the next data point," said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management.

Economic data from the Commerce Department showed that orders for durable goods - which are items expected to last for at least three years - rose 3.4% in April.

The increase was bigger than expected, and followed a 1.9% increase in March.

Separate figures from the US Labor Department showed initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 268,000 for the week to 21 May.

Bank shares were among the big losers, Goldman Sachs shares fell 1.3% and JP Morgan was 0.75% lower.

Shares in Abercrombie & Fitch sank 15.7% after the clothing retailer's sales fell for the 13th quarter in a row.

Sales at stores open at least a year dropped 4% in the February-to-April period.

Shares of discount retailer Dollar Tree rose 13% after reporting better than expected earnings.