US STOCKS-Wall St ends sharply lower; energy leads decline
* Yellen "looking forward" to day of rate hike
* Private payrolls increased 217,000 in November
* Yahoo shares jump on reports could sell Internet business
* Dow down 0.9 pct, S&P down 1.1 pct, Nasdaq down 0.6 pct (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Dec 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday after hawkish comments from Janet Yellen boosted expectations of an interest rate hike, and oil dipped below $40 a barrel.
Investors also attributed late-day selling to news coverage of a shooting in southern California.
The S&P 500 energy index fell 3.1 percent, leading declines in the S&P 500 as U.S. crude oil futures finished the session down 4.6 percent at $39.94. The utility index, which tends to underperform in a higher-rate environment, dropped 2.2 percent. It was the day's second-worst performing sector, although all 10 S&P sectors ended lower.
Record intraday highs in Alphabet, Amazon and Netflix failed to keep the Nasdaq in positive territory. Continuación...