New York Report: US stocks stall as investors await Fed data

U S STOCKS fluctuated between slight gains and losses yesterday after a five-week rally as investors waited for some direction from economic data or the Federal Reserve.

The market’s pause comes in advance of remarks later this week by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and vice chairwoman Janet Yellen, who is President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed Bernanke.

The market will be looking for clues whether the Fed will begin to cut back its $85bn monthly stimulus sooner than anticipated.

That possibility increased after the Labor Department reported payrolls increased more than expected in October, which drove the Dow Jones industrial average to another record on Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 ended Friday’s session within a few points of its all-time closing high.

Bernanke is scheduled to speak at a Teacher Town Hall meeting tomorrow and Yellen will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

The tone of trading was quiet, with bond markets closed for Veterans Day, a federal holiday.

Twitter, which went public amid much fanfare last week, rose 1.4 per cent to $42.23.

Shares of ViroPharma jumped 25.6 per cent to $49.46 following news that London-listed Shire is buying the company for $4.2bn, attracted by a pipeline of potentially lucrative drugs to treat rare diseases.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.20 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 15,775.98. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index inched up 0.39 of a point, or 0.02 per cent, to 1,771.00.