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Market Digest Online MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2016: U.S. stocks closed mixed on Friday, with utilities lagging, as investors digested remarks made by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer.

"I don't think she said anything we didn't already know, but people were trying to make something bullish out of it," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "Then Fischer said two rate hikes were possible" and stocks went lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed about 50 points lower after briefly falling more than 100 points. Earlier, Fischer told CNBC next week's jobs report would weigh on the Fed's rate hike decision. The Dow gained 123.68 points at session highs and traded in a range of 236.75 points.

"I think it's Fischer's comments" that dragged the market lower, said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth, noting that the three major indexes were higher before Fischer spoke and began falling after he made his remarks. Fischer spoke after Yellen, who said in a much-anticipated speech Friday at the central bank's annual Jackson Hole summit that the case for a rate hike has gained strength "in recent months."

Market expectations for a rate hike in September, the Fed's next meeting, were at 30 percent Friday afternoon, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

"I think, overall, investors expect a rate hike, but they expect it later this year," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. "What we saw was Yellen not changing expectations very much." Phil Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management said "the reality is they don't have enough to move rates in September ... and they certainly don't want to get in front of an election."

Yellen delivered her speech against a backdrop of narrow trading and hawkish remarks from two of her top lieutenants, New York Fed President William Dudley and Fischer. Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets, said in a note to clients ahead of the speech "the Fed is still data dependent and the labour market is something which they keep a very close eye on."

Gold futures for December delivery settled $1.30 higher at $1,325.90 per ounce, well off session highs. In oil markets, U.S. crude settled 0.65 percent higher at $47.64 a barrel after the Saudi energy minister subdued down expectations that the Saudi Arabia might agree next month to limit output.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.01 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 18,395.4, with Verizon leading decliners and Merck the top advancer. The S&P 500 dropped 3.43 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,169.04, with utilities leading seven sectors lower and health care the top riser. The Nasdaq closed 6.71 points higher, or 0.13 percent, at 5,218.92. About nine stocks declined for every five advancers at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 807.85 million and a composite volume of 3.279 billion at the close.

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