U.S. financial markets eased back from record highs in early trading Wednesday. Investors were monitoring corporate earnings from Lowe's, Target and several other companies.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 16 points, or 0.1%, to 18,192 as of 10:04 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dipped two points, or 0.1%, to 2,113. The Nasdaq composite was down less than one point at 4,967.
FED FACTOR: The Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Tuesday after investors were encouraged by remarks from Yellen suggesting that the Fed was not in a hurry to raise interest rates. Yellen noted that the job market is still healing and inflation is low. Lower interest rates make borrowing easier and tend to be a plus for financial markets.
BIG DECLINER: Chesapeake Energy slumped 10.7% after the natural gas company's fourth-quarter results missed analysts' expectations. The company also said it plans to spend less this year. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, sliding $2.11 to $17.77.
MIXED RESULTS: Target reported a loss in its fourth quarter, dragged down by costs to end its money-losing foray in Canada. But the discount retailer recorded strong sales as shoppers bought more clothing and other items over the holiday period. The stock added 9 cents to $77.04.
IMPROVING, TOO: A day after
DOLLAR DOES IT: Shares in Discount retailer Dollar Tree rose 2.3% after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that surpassed Wall Street's expectations. The stock rose $1.56 to $79.06.
SECTOR VIEW: Six of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 moved lower, with utilities stocks sliding the most. Consumer discretionary stocks led among the gainers.
OVERSEAS MARKETS: In Europe, France's CAC 40 was down 0.4%, while Germany's DAX slipped 0.2%. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares dipped 0.3% from its record closing high on Tuesday. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged down 0.1%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3%. Hong Kong Hang Seng gained 0.1%. South Korea's Kospi added 0.7%.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil dipped 9 cents to $49.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 17 cents on Tuesday to $49.28.