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 the market is starting to second guess what she said," said Daniel Deming, managing director at KKM Financial. "I think the market is trying to assess the real probability of a rate hike" in the near term.
The benchmark S&P 500 closed 0.15 percent lower, with utilities falling more than 2 percent, while the Nasdaq composite ended 0.13 percent higher.
"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.