US stocks closes mixed with oil retreat

US stocks closes mixed with oil retreat

Crude returns below $50; market awaits speech by Fed chair

NEW YORK (AA) – Wall Street closed mixed Thursday as oil prices retreated after passing the critical $50 per barrel threshold and worries about an upcoming speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen added to concerns.

The Dow Jones fell 23 points to end the day at 17,828. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,090, while the Nasdaq was up seven points to end the day at 4,902.

Crude oil climbed above $50 a barrel to reach its highest level in the last seven months, before falling below the critical mark.

At the closing bell, West Texas Intermediate was down 0.5 percent to $49.32 per barrel. Brent crude fell 0.7 percent to $49.40.

The market is now focused on Yellen's speech Friday for any hints at which direction the bank may take on a rate hike this summer.

Minutes of the April meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released last week showed that a rate hike "likely would be appropriate" if macroeconomic data in the following weeks suggest economic growth picking up in the second quarter.

After the release of the minutes, U.S. stocks and crude prices fell for two days.

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