US STOCKS-Wall St declines as healthcare, materials lag
* Yellen to speak on monetary policy on Friday
* Materials lower as gold weakens
* Indexes down: Dow 0.14 pct, S&P 0.16 pct, Nasdaq 0.13 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street retreated on Wednesday, pulled lower by declines in the materials and healthcare sectors as investors continued to assess the possibility of an interest rate hike in the coming months.
The market is awaiting Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday for insight on the direction of monetary policy.
Recent hawkish comments from some Fed officials, including Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, have raised expectations that Yellen might signal a hike in September.
"The market over the past several weeks has been in a holding pattern, really not doing much of anything and the reason for that is everyone is waiting to hear what Yellen is going to say," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
"Of course the markets might get surprised. The markets are looking for clarity and we might not get clarity." Continuación...