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Stocks Suffer Deja Vu as Yellen Talks About Rate Hike


Markets have the memory of a goldfish. So when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that a December rate hike was still on the table, stocks turned lower--even though she wasn't saying anything new.

The Fed Chair doubled-down on the possibility of a December rate hike in a testimony to Congress. However, as she has done again and again, she prefaced that the data would have to support the case.

The Fed is "expecting the economy will continue to grow at a pace to return inflation to our target over the medium term," Yellen said. "If the incoming information supports that expectation ... December would be a live possibility."

The 'December' keyword sent markets into a tizzy, though, with stocks nixing earlier gains to trade modestly lower for much of the day through to close. The S&P 500 fell 0.37%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.36%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.08%.

"The market is clearly sensing something in Yellen's response to the hiking question... So much so, in fact, that December hiking probabilities are now up at 54%," David Ader, analyst at CRT Capital, wrote in a note. "We are vacillating on the December hike thing [having] been in...